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Viy (1967) ( Spirit of Evil )
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Sweden released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), French ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Russian ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Hebrew ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Japanese ( Subtitles ), Portuguese ( Subtitles ), Russian ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Swedish ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Documentary, Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Acclaimed Russian horror tale based on Nikolai Gogol's story of Khoma Brutus, a theology student made to recite scripture for a young woman who has died. Unknown to him she is the Devil's agent on earth and he is drawn into a frightening, twilight world. For three nights Khoma is enticed and tormented by the Devil's helpers, challenging his belief and resolve... ...Viy (1967) ( Spirit of Evil )
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As the other reviewer has pointed out it's not really a horrifying horror film but it does get quite tense and there's a real sense of drama about it; especially in the build up of each consecutive night.
The protagonist is funny and engaging making for a watchable performance. Elements are camp but if you like a more artistic approach favouring style over realism then this is a little gem of a movie.
Also of note for those wary of foreign/subtitled films, the pace is snappy and I was surprised when it finished as it didn't feel like I had been watching it for that long.
This isn't Hellraiser but it is a wonderful experience that should delight any fan of stylised cinema.
A young trainee-priest is engaged to watch over the body of a recently-deceased young woman, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy farmer, for three nights before her funeral; but knows something no-one else does - she's a witch! After being locked in to the chapel every evening, he is tormented throughout each night by various ways and things!
I cannot recommend this enough! If you like creepy films you'll love this. It looks like it was shot yesterday, and it genuinely gave me shivers down my spine :)
It begins in a camp jolly way, a long time ago in the past in Russia, with a small group of friends stopping off at a creepy house owned by an even creepier old (and slightly pervy?) woman. From that point on a story about dreams, witchery, demons and punishment unfolds.
The concept is certainly interesting, and the story itself is aswell, it just doesn't translate that well to the big screen, the story itself doesnt particularly develop enough or last long enough to become totally engrossed, in many ways it is a sort of Edgar Allan Poe-esq short story; which in book form would be exciting, translated to the screen it just wouldn't be eventful enough.
The film features in the book '1001 films you must see before you die' which is the sole reason i bought this film, also i presumed it would soon be out of circulation anyway; but i can't really figure out why it is. The demon's themselves at the finale are supposed to be amazing, but in reality their all pretty similar and don't really do anything.
I suppose it is worth seeing for the general idea behind it, as it is unlike anything you'll have seen before; it's certainly an oddity in cinema history, but it's up to you whether that merit's watching it; in my opinion it probably deserves 3 stars (at most) but unless your a particular fan of rare russian cinema then you probably won't rate it higher.
HOWEVER! Other than the film itself, there is a particularly strong reason for buying this film: And that is the dvd itself. I've personally found that alot of dvds for Russian film's are insanely weird (Artifical Eye's Andrei Rublev, for example) but this one is undeniably the weirdest of all. The layout of the menus is so confusing and yet so infinite, you can find all manner of completely random things on the dvd; there are the usual dvd fodder like notes on the film etc, then there's a feature or two about Gogol himself and the source materia; but after that you can stumble across random silent russian films from 1912 onwards and other things which i don't want to spoil for you if you end up buying this dvd! All i will say is that there is absolutely no logic to the utterly bizarre features and shorts you'll find!!
Worth buying for the Special Features alone!!
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