Director/Writer – Teemu Niiki
Runtime – 95 minutes
It’s Alive Films/Uncork’D Entertainment
Being the sucker for subtitled cinematic affairs I immediately jumped at the chance to gaze upon what has been touted as a ‘grindhourse-esque treat’ from an area not normally know for its movie making prowess. Admittedly, Euthanizer is a slow burn feature that builds to a crescendo (ala Drive). Rather than take the all out eye-widening/senses dulling action approach that most choose it opts instead for a cerebral response through actions, emotion and empathy. And this it does splendidly with the utilization of a stellar cast, an excellently crafted score and a narrative that many, if not most of the viewership, will be able to immediately relate to.
Veijo is a loner who operates a repair and euthanizing service (two businesses I would never have thought would pair so well together) called, funnily enough, Haukkus Repair and End Solutions. He even charges less than the local vet, but his services often come at a cost. You see, Veijo (played brilliantly by Matti Onnismaa) is known as quite the Humanitarian and much prefers the company of animals to that of their despicable owners. His approach is blunt and straight to the point, one might even say he can talk to the animals (cue the music) but he merely says it as it is…”dogs are like people. They’re aggressive if they don’t know their place in the world..” And he doesn’t dissapoint. Until one day that is, when he chooses not to follow through.
The storyline is given another human touch as Veijo has an ailing father in hospice whom he visits regularly, but there’s something strange in the air, repressed feelings, guilt and something else. Why else would Veijo mimic suffocating his father with a bouquet of lillies-of-the-valley and his father spend all day silent staring at the vase in anguish?
The storyline changes pace and direction when, all of a sudden, a budding love interest develops between the nurse, who cares for Veijos patriarch, and Veijo himself.
All seems to be happy in Vikingville until one of Veijos customers learns of his ‘saving a bulllet’ antics. And feeling the need to prove himself amongst his nationalist (Soldiers of Finland) brothers he puffs out his chest and starts making threats that the requested work be completed…or else! Veijo doesn’t take his customers threats seriously, until he receives a visit from the viking image shirt donning collective intent on ensuring their brothers cajones resurface from the intestinal submergement coming by way of family ball and chain entanglement.
The score abruptly changes into more dramatic territories, industrial synth rears it’s head, and the film takes on a more sinister, somber tone. Veijo is left pissed after his encounter and uses both his skills (no mention of the Leslie Neilsson Taken franchise here. Dammit! I went ahead and mentioned it anyway) and karma incarnate (whatever that is!) to attempt to level the universes ‘balance’.
For want of not issuing spoilers like flyers to a local church get-together where the main attraction is the immolation of heathens I’ll cease my synopsis and focus instead on what makes Euthanizer so gosh darn effective. First off the story works extremely well in first introducing the characters, their flaws, idiosyncrasies and traits then continues to slowly build to its climax which isn’t altogether unreasonable based on the characters and their emotional state within its context. The score is well worthy of a mention.
It does more than aid the story’s flow it adds a whole other level to the films allure even transforming as the film plummets into altogether a darker place entirely. Classical nuance to sombre industrial synth a stunning combination that’s highly effective. The main character is obviously the backbone of the story and his is a portrayal that might put many in mind of a character (and similarly slow paced feature) No Country for Old Men (by the Cohen Brothers). Veijo bears a face that lacks emotion, a visage of coldness, his personality is that of someone who has nothing but disgust for humanity. Of course he’s not punk or anarchist about it but rather cunning. In one instance he takes payment for his services by having the pets owner subject himself to the same treatment he endured upon the same pet he’s wanting to be removed of.
Other instances show our protagonist in more a psychological light as he informs his clients why it really is that they want to be rid of their “encumbrance” making them reflect upon their actions in relation to how the animal might be acting. In short Euthanizer is a film for the dogs. I’ll elaborate, it’s a film for all those amongst us who are sickened by those who refuse to treat others (pets included) as they would like to be. A film injected with morals and draped in karmic retribution. A unique creation which although isn’t peppered with ghosts, ghouls, drenched in gore sequences to make one squirm or alien beings intent on packaging humans as the next taste sensation to sweep the Galaxy (there, squeezed in my obligatory Bad Taste reference) I will still whole-heartedly recommend without reservation. Euthanizer oozes with atmosphere and depth is an undeniable treat for the senses which is deserved of all the praise it has garnered and then some. Take time out to give this a peek.
Euthanizer is available VOD August 7 and finds a limited theatre run starting July/20 in select cities.
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