Russia takes on the essence of ALIEN with a touch of Del Toro and a bit of VENOM in this smart Sci-Fi horror that ticks all the right boxes for fans of out of space terror…
Its a classic tale in which many of you have heard it all before. A trip into space goes horribly wrong and the only surviving astronaut, this time in the form of Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) brings something back inside him.
Before Ridley Scott reaches for his lawyers and screams “COPYRIGHT”, there are no eggs and chest bursting horror, instead Egor Abramenko in what is a stunning first feature debut flick, offers up a kind of twist of the VENOM saga, with a creature that looks like it just stepped out of a Guillermo del Toro picture.
Set in 1983 during the final years of the Cold War, Sputnik with its dark theme and brooding heavy beat synth soundtrack, is more of a serious tale than a creature feature and its all the better for it.
With Konstantin transferred to a secret medical facility as those around him determine what action to take, Colonel Semiradov (Fedor Bondarchuk) seeks help from Dr. Tatiana Klimova (Oksana Akinshina) in which they hope they can separate Man from Monster.
Poor Konstantin is unaware that a slithery slug like creature unleashes from his mouth every night – a sequence that Cronenberg himself would be proud of – and the intentions of the secret government’s use of said creature when its free, is as murky and dark as each frame, which drips with paranoia.
While the watching horror crowd are here for the body horror, the films biggest strength is between Semiradov and Kilmova, in which their working relationship develops into a cat and mouse game of power that escalates the tension will each passing frame.
Its the horror elements that is the film’s downfall in which it lacks the acid tongue of an Xenomorph. The creature wonderfully confuses you as it looks cute one minute, while in the next you’ll be worried that it may bite your head off and while there is enough gore to please, Abramenko is more concerned about smart story telling than selling out to cheap scare scenes and for that, Sputnik will delight those wanting an adult tale.
While the original Sputnik satellite only orbited for three weeks before its batteries died and then two months it fell back into the atmosphere, Sputnik the movie with its impressive performances, some stunning cinematography and an emotional pull from the plot, will no doubt be around much longer and may end up becoming a bit of a fan favourite for those who love their horror deep.
Its not quite ALIEN, but then its not ALIEN Convent either……