A man’s lease on a new life gets threatened in this dramatic thriller from Finnish filmmaker Teemu Nikki.
Veijo Haukka is a car mechanic who also has another job. He is a euthanizer of sick animals. However, one fateful changes his life. Petri, another car mechanic, has been stealing tires from his place of employment in order to be initiated into a small group known as the Soldiers of Finland. When he grows tired of his dog, Mussu, he plans to pay Veijo to kill the dog. Having gone off the deep end, Petri makes up a story to his wife about the dog being killed. However, Veijo decides not to kill the dog, but rather, keep it and name her Piki.
Veijo also spends time at the hospital, visiting his gravely ill father Martti. He brings lilies-of-the-valley to his father, which attracts the attention of nurse Lotta. When Lotta becomes instantly attracted to Veijo, the two begin a strange affair, in which Lotta finds herself intrigued by Veijo’s “job”. When Petri learns that Veijo did not kill the dog, he plots revenge on the euthanizer but also finds himself getting busted for making threats to a fellow employee, prompting him fired. Now completely off his rocker, Petri seeks revenge against Veijo but what will happen if the tables turn on the maniacal Petri?
A very interesting film from Teemu Nikki, the film delves into various themes from humanity to life to delving into taboo and in the case of its climactic scene, horror. The film’s central character, Veijo, is a mechanic who is also a local euthanizer who could care less as long as he gets the job done. However, he tends to feel that the people who bring in animals that are not deemed sick must suffer as well. However, when he makes the first humane decision in a long time, he ends up angering a white supremacist who decides to do the unthinkable and become a different kind of the titular job.
Matti Onnismaa, who was seen as one of the criminal masterminds in the superhero film Rendel, does a great job in the titular role of Veijo, a man who long suffers and finds his job as a euthanizer as a means of self-loathing. Veijo visits his father but seems to have a sort of strange connection to him, one that isn’t seen as invigorating, but more of pity. When we see Veijo lock a dog owner in his own crate while doing his job, it shows he wants the owner to feel what the dog is feeling. However, it is when he opts not to kill a dog and rather raise it on his own that we see a more human side to Veijo.
As for Hannamaija Nikander’s Lotta, she proves to be quite an interesting character herself. She is so invigorated by Veijo’s job that during her romance with him that she engages in a taboo involving erotic asphyxiation. Jari Virman goes a bit over the top as Petri, a mechanic who is hellbent on joining a white supremacist group that he alienates both his job and his family. The first sign of his descent into madness involves the dog Mussu, who Veijo decides not to kill and rename her Piki. At first Petri doesn’t think much of the situation until he sees Veijo with the dog when the euthanizer visits Petri’s boss Vatanen, who is known for his Quagmire-style ways. This eventually leads to the most shocking twist in the story that leads to a horror-style finale.
Euthanizer is a drama that delves into both taboo and a revenge-twisted climax that is driven by the performance of Matti Onnismaa as the titular character. Despite a bit of an over the top performanc e by Jari Virman, this is a very human and at times twisted thriller.
WFG RATING: A-
Uncork’d Entertainment presents an It’s Alive Film production. Director: Teemu Niiki. Producers: Teemu Nikki and Jani Pösö. Writer: Teemu Nikki. Cinematography: Sari Aaltonen. Editing: Teemu Nikki.
Cast: Matti Onnismaa, Jari Virman, Hannamaija Nikander, Heikki Nousianen, Phila Puolanto, Jouko Puolanto, Santtu Karvonen, Alisa Tomnikov.