October 28, 2008

Trackman (2007)

I was really looking forward to seeing "Trackman" (Putevoy obkhodchik) especially as, from the trailer, it had every opportunity to be a Russian answer to "My Bloody Valentine". Unfortunately, it wasn't very good.

In spite of some great production values and some inspired underground set design, the script was just too amateur. It ended up being a poor man's "Friday the 13th" when it also could have been a better version of "Creep". Well, it could hardly be a worse one.

The things I liked about it, apart from the beautiful Russian girls, I could write on the back of a stamp as only one actor really stood out - Dmitri Orlov (who played the gang leader Grom) - and none of the scary set pieces were really all that scary.

I also made the mistake of starting the DVD off with the terrible dubbed soundtrack instead of the subtitles and, if anything will kill a foreign horror movie stone dead, it's unsuitable voices for the characters. Svetlana Metkina's character (Katya) was shrieking and crying so annoyingly in the dubbed version that I couldn't stand it anymore and had to restart the whole thing again for the sake of my ears. In the original language, things aren't a great deal better but at least it's less distracting and you can concentrate on the action.

Some moments were very reminiscent of "The Descent" and suitably claustrophobic but others were more laughable than atmospheric. The action scenes in particular were so over the top that I wondered if I was watching Indiana Jones at one point.

It was still a nice try for Russia's first real horror film and the "Trackman" character was quite iconic in his own way. I have no idea why he was collecting eyeballs though or why he fancied Yuliya Mikhailova (Olga) but not the prettier girl. Even the nasty villain Kostya, played nicely by Tomas Motskus, fancied Katya more than Olga. There were quite a few more bits that had me scratching my head in puzzlement too but that was all down to bad writing.

Inconsistent characterisation really let this movie down the most with Grom ending up as some kind of hero, Katya becoming a gun-toting action girl, and both having the oddest kind of romantic attachment to each other by the end. Surely it takes more than a couple of hours underground for Stockholm syndrome to occur even if you are being chased by a psychotic Chernobyl survivor.

I can really only give "Trackman" a rating of "Below Average". It was no worse than a lot of the Afterdark Horrorfest movies but, unfortunately, it wasn't any better either.

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