Murder Girl: A True Story short film review

★★★★

Directed by: #DianaGalimzyanova

Written by: #DianaGalimzyanova

Starring: #EkaterinaDar, #ElizavetaShulyak

Film review by William Hemingway



Still from Murder Girl: A True Story

'Nowadays it doesn't matter who's got talent. The only thing that matters is I got a million followers.' So says Murder Girl (Dar) in her most recent foray into online film-making. She's a girl on a mission, with a select set of skills, which she wants to share with us through her vlog, and which she hopes will titillate and entice us to follow her on her rise to internet stardom. She had, at first, thought about building a fan-base through beauty videos and make-up tutorials, but quickly realised that the competition was too fierce and the market fully saturated with these kinds of vloggers – so she turned to her other favoured skill: murder, or as she puts it herself as she trawls the streets of Moscow, 'slaughter'.

Today Murder Girl is on the hunt for a deadly weapon, nothing as clumsy or conspicuous as a gun of course, but something with a bit more elegance and style to it; some poison vodka perhaps, or a strong rope, or a good, sharp hunting knife. So she has glammed herself up in pink fur and purple wig and has made for the Izmaylovo flea market to see what she can find. It is important that Murder Girl finds the right tool for the job as she already has a victim (Shulyak) waiting at home ready to be slaughtered for our viewing pleasure.

We follow Murder Girl in faux documentary style (I resist the word mockumentary here – This Isn't Spinal Tap) as she navigates the snowy streets looking for the perfect weapon. She is our hostess and guide in this shadowy world where almost everything is for sale, to the right person, for the right price. Murder Girl constantly talks to us, her followers, through the camera and provides insightful commentary on the people and proceedings surrounding her. She is an enigmatic and charming companion who we can somewhat forgive for her psychopathic foibles and perhaps even side with as she faces resistance from the general public.

It says a lot for Ekaterina Dar's performance as well as Diana Galimzyanova's direction and vision that they have managed to create such a likeable monster in Murder Girl – a true modern day serial killer. She lets us share some inside jokes as she asks unsuspecting vendors about their deadly wares and confides in us who she might like to kill next as they make it to the top of her list by offending her and getting in her way. This builds our relationship with her directly and allows us to get onside as she explains her gruesome lifestyle choices to us.

What we get in Murder Girl: A True Story is something akin to Sacha Baron Cohen's best creations, most notably Borat, where everything is done with a nod and a wink to the camera. Our protagonist is a seemingly innocent, but dangerous idiot, who traps their victims into conversations of disbelief and breaks their guard down enough for them to reveal themselves. The people of Izmaylovo Market have no idea of what is taking place before them, giving the documentary aspect of the film a true to life view through its lens. Unfortunately the drama segments don't really add much but at least provide a context to the story as it progresses.

There is a lot to be said about modern society and the future we are creating through our online habits just through the mere existence of Murder Girl. She embodies the voyeuristic seduction of vindictive retribution perfectly, where those with a spare minute or a spare buck can share intimately in the passions of those who are willing to do what they are not, all in the name of entertainment. If Dexter (2006-2013) taught us anything it's that we all like to see bad people get their comeuppance, and we can be sure that if the media stars of the future are anything at all like Murder Girl, then any enemies of theirs are likely to be enemies of ours and we can safely, from the comfort of our own armchairs, revel in the sharing of their demise. As Megadeth once said, 'Peace Sells – But Who's Buying?'