August 13th, 2020
STARRING: OKSANA AKINSHINA; FEDOR BONDARCHUK; PYOTR FYODOROV
DIRECTED BY: EGOR ABRAMENKOV
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
When the creature exploded from John Hurt’s chest in Alien, there was not much after thought about if the snake-like “thing” would crawl back inside to Kane’s body. The thought was capturing the Alien and killing it. In the incredibly low-budget sci-fi film Sputnik, an alien life-form attaches itself onto a Soviet Astronaut, leaves his body, returns back when he’s asleep, and it is up to a lone scientist along with an undercover military operation to figure out exactly what the hell this alien is. Director Egor Abramenkov drops a hammer on the independent sci-fi genre with this one. Creating a movie that has a unique combination of nasty horror and a frightening creature feature, something we honestly don’t see enough of today. Sputnik is a tightly wound discovery, with a nasty new creature to shock and scare audiences.
The lead character is Tatyana Klimova (Oksana Akinshina), a medical doctor, sitting before a review board over a recent decision made with a patient, one decision that was dangerous, but saved the person’s life. She’s a doctor with everything about to be lost. In her vulnerability, she is approached by a military man by the name of Semiradov (Fedor Bondarchuk), asking her to help with the recent medical condition of astronaut Konstantin Veshnyakov (Pyotr Fyodorov), who returned from space in a violent accident. Something is different about him. He’s himself, but can’t remember anything that happened before the ship crashed, leaving his co-pilot dead, but him in perfect shape. There just happens to be something inside him, and it makes an appearance every night, in the form of a creepy, tentacle-like alien.
It’s easy for critics and audiences to make the comparisons of Sputnik to Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece Alien, but that comparison is only in origin. This movie is much more evolved towards Scott’s more recent additions to the Alien-lore in Prometheus and Alien:Covenant, with a singular alien, and one that will frighten you, as a molding, adapting, spineless jelly-fish. And director Abramenkov closes us into a bunker with the beast. The surroundings are often dark, cold, delapedaded facilities, resembling a post-world war environment, or similar to HBO’s hit series Chernobyl. As Tatyana digs deeper, her relationship with Konstantin comes closer, but it becomes a challenge to defeat a corrupt military operation and separate the human from the alien.
I found myself incredibly engaged with Sputnik. Typically I eat up any kind of sci-fi film, dealing in extraterrestrials and the mixture of the unknown. Sputnik hits a bit harder, because the cast is only a few major characters, some lonely soldiers for the alien to feast on, and the creature itself. The underlying themes in the script by Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev are about the battle of science, and the deeper emotional toll on humans, specifically for Tatyana who is under the gun to prevent the beast getting out and saving a life as well.
Sputnik is by far the best pure sci-fi movie of 2020 right now. Abramenkov does the right things to make a film of this nature work. He gets the beast right, does not expand far beyond it, and then scares the crap out of us with every turn. Sputnik is a movie about an alien life-form latching onto a human like a disease and forcing a quarantine until a noble doctor figures out what it is. It’s certainly a movie we can relate to today. You just can’t let the beast become a part of you. Sputnik is the kind of movie you invite into your eyeballs. It’s an instant hit.
SPUTNIK IS IN SELECT-THEATERS THIS WEEKEND AND AVAILABLE ON VOD.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady