Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Editor’s Note: If this film looks familiar you are not experiencing déjà vu, as Sommer did cover it on RMR back in August. But she has revisited it as part of her 31 Days of Horror series and both her score and appreciation for the film has grown over time. So here’s Sputnik take two!
Movie: Sputnik (2020)
Plot: The lone survivor of an enigmatic spaceship incident hasn’t returned back home alone-hiding inside his body is a dangerous creature.
Review: In my review of Underwater (Day #27) I said it was considered derivative of films like Alien and The Abyss. Well Sputnik stands a little taller, as this is what happens when inspiration meets creativity.
Director Egor Abramenko brilliantly mixes modern-day horror carnage with classic sci-fi storytelling with his version of an alien parasite that invades the body of a Russian cosmonaut named Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov). To study the phenomenon (and figure a way to separate the two entities safely) the colonel in charge (because this is Russia and the military is involved in everything) brings in Dr Tatiana Kilmova (Oksana Akinshina) to assist. And as these things go, the borscht hits the fan.
This film has a great look to it. The cinematography of the absolutely brilliant HBO mini-series Chernobyl comes to mind here, and there’s a great use of light and shadow, when the alien is stalking about. The performances are excellent and the Russian narrative does a lot to add to the alien atmosphere of the story.
Another aspect of the story I found intriguing, was the way they approached the dilemma of the alien. Tatiana asks the question “is it a parasite or symbiote?” Two very different things, and not usually something films such as these bother with. Most alien-based movies treat the creature as a menace, something to be destroyed or weaponised. And while the latter is part of the story (it’s the military, what do you expect?) it was refreshing to see this layer added to the overall tale.
The three main characters, the colonel, the cosmonaut and the scientist, are well fleshed out and add depth here with each of them representing a very different view of Russian patriotism and or obedience. With all of the above, Abramenko crafts a movie that’s so much more than your average sci-fi horror. I’ve reviewed this movie before and I gave it a different score. But that’s the beauty of films, you can always go back and see it in ways you didn’t the first time around. And Sputnik manages to be just different enough, smart enough, and elegant enough to be considered one of the best the genre has offered in recent years.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!