From time to time a film journalist gets the sense that everyone up and down the PR chain is proud of what they’re promoting. Given that new release Sputnik is both a horror film and in Russian, I was pretty surprised by their confidence. When I said I was curious about seeing it, I immediately got not only a link, but press notes, and a hearty ‘ENJOY’, which is not the norm. The film won me over quickly, and by the end credits, I could understand their enthusiasm. Director Egor Abramenko’s Sputnik adds a cold war paranoiac twist to the alien monster genre, largely replacing the alien spaceship horror-house framework with the institutional bleakness of 80s era Russia. It works.
Looking at the landing site of spacecraft Orbit-4, it’s clear something very bad has happened. The only surviving cosmonaut has no memory of the last moments before the crash. He is taken to a remote government facility and watched by armed guards. Renowned, no-nonsense psychologists Tatiana Klimova (Oksana Akinshana) is brought in to examine the survivor and determine his mental state. She very quickly discovers her patient has a problem she’s never faced. The word sputnik means ‘traveling companion’, and unfortunately, that’s what the cosmonaut brought home with him to Earth. He is housing a parasitic alien that may kill him, and it’s up to her to figure out whether they can be separated. She is surrounded by scientists and military men who have other priorities, putting the cosmonaut in mortal danger.
To read the rest of the review, go to AWJF.org HERE.