Russian import Sputnik hit theaters, digital platforms, and VOD on Friday, and if you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, here’s a tip for fans of tense, gruesome, creature-tastic sci-fi horror: it’s excellent. Need more convincing? We’ve got an exclusive clip from one of Sputnik’s, ah, juicier scenes below.
First, a little context. First-time director Egor Abramenko’s movie is set in 1983 and is brimming with Cold War tension and not-so-nostalgic remembrances of the Soviet Union. After a strange encounter on a long-haul space mission, cosmonaut Konstantin Sergeyevich (Pyotr Fyodorov) returns to Earth with an alien parasite cozied up inside him. Trying to keep this alarming development a secret, but also interested to see how they can perhaps weaponize Konstantin’s vicious little buddy, the military summons Tatiana Yurievna (Oksana Akinshina), a doctor whose record has been marked by daring experiments that make her superiors nervous but yield life-saving results.
Fyodorov is very good as a man who’s suddenly confronted with losing the cocky, “heroic” image he’s built up for himself (the concept of heroism, both as it pertains to Soviet culture and on a more personal level, is a recurring theme), and must face both his own monstrous regrets as well as the literal monster that’s taken up residence in him. But Akinshina—who kind of reminds me of Cate Blanchett—is the real breakout here; you can see her “fuck all y’all” cold-as-ice persona is something she’s been cultivating not just to survive as a risk-taking woman in the world of science, but on a larger scale, in an oppressive society that has no tolerance for weakness.
Oh yes, and to go with all its compelling characters, Sputnik is also disturbing as hell and has some freaking awesome special effects. Without spoiling the plot’s twists and turns, let’s just say this is the moment Tatiana is allowed to clandestinely observe the creature devouring its midnight snack.
Intrigued? You should be! Sputnik is now playing in select theaters and on digital platforms and cable VOD.
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