So a few weeks back, IFC Midnight released a trailer for the Russian creature feature Sputnik, and I compared it to Ridley Scott‘s 1979 masterpiece Alien, which is a lot of pressure to put on a movie! The studio was kind enough to share a screener, and now that I’ve seen the sci-fi thriller for myself, I can say it’s much more like a Russian version of Venom than any of the Alien movies. In that comparison, Sputnik comes out on top in my book.
The film marks the feature directorial debut of Egor Abramenko, who is going to be one to watch after industry executives get a look at Sputnik, which strikes me as much more polished than Night Watch — the 2006 vampire movie that put Timur Bekmambetov on Hollywood’s radar and landed him a studio gig directing 2009’s Wanted starring multiple Oscar winners.
Sputnik follows Tatiana Yurievna (Oksana Akinshina), a young doctor who isn’t afraid of taking risks, even when they threaten her career. Recruited by the military, she’s brought to a secure facility to assess the case of a cosmonaut (Pyotr Fyodorov) who survived a mysterious space accident and has returned to Earth with a unique condition — there’s something living inside of him that only shows itself late at night. The military uses the creature for its own nefarious purposes and wants to study it further, while Tatiana simply wants to stop the parasite — or is it a symbiote? — from killing its host. Of course, the creature has plans of its own.
This is a smart, confident debut from Abramenko, an award-winning director of Russian music videos and commercials who based Sputnik on his own 2017 short film The Passenger. If you’re a fan of Guillermo del Toro‘s early work, be sure and check out Sputnik, which will open in select theaters and on VOD on Aug. 14.
Check out the exclusive clip above, which sheds some light on the nature of the creature, and to watch the full trailer for Sputnik, click here.