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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 15, 2021



‘SPUTNIK’ is a 2020 Russian sci-fi horror film that will remind you of Ridley Scott’s classic, “Alien”. It’s set in 1983. A Soviet spacecraft with two cosmonauts is about to return to Earth when something mysterious happens to them. 

When their space pod lands on Mother Russia’s soil, the other cosmonaut is already dead, and the survivor, Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov), seems badly injured. 

e is taken to a remote and ominous military facility that houses prisoners in it, headed by Col. Semiradov (Fyodor Bondarchuk.)

We then see a tough-looking doctor, Tatyana (Oksana Akinshina), being investigated by a review panel of expert for nearly drowning a boy patient as part of her technique to cure him of his psychogenic seizures. 

Semiradov admires her for being an astute doctor willing to take risks in curing her patients. 

He waits for the interrogation to finish then talks to her to hire her to examine Konstantin who seems to suffer from amnesia and cannot totally recall what happened to him. 

He could have been proclaimed as a national hero who has conquered outer space, but it’s discovered that he did not return to earth alone.

There is an alien organism living inside of him and the entity comes out at night when Konstantin is asleep in order to feed. And what it feeds on absolutely horrifies Tatiana. 

The slimy slithering creature with elongated arms (very good CGI that makes it totally different from the Ridley Scott creation) has formed a symbiotic relationship with Konstantin, who later turns out to be totally aware of his being a host to an unwanted special guest from outer space. 

A bond develops between Konstantin and Tatyana, who wants to help Konstantin to be able to separate from the alien without harming him, specially after Tatyana finds out that Semiradov is a military bad guy with a sinister opportunistic plan. 

The movie is the directorial debut of Egor Abramenko and, for sure, there will be comparisons to “Alien”, but he manages to make his film work on his own. 

There is a lot of blood and gore that will satisfy horror fans and there’s a nice buildup of suspense and tension in a number of scenes. 

The sinister alien beast shows a vicious ruthlessness but there is a hint to its uncanny intelligence that overpowers his cosmonaut host who it uses like his own boarding home for food and lodging.

The cast is small but the four major actors involved are all very effective in their respective roles. 

Oksana as Tatyana is very relatable and sympathetic as the fierce heroine who doesn’t trust the military officer who aims to make use of institutional control to harness the power of their alien captive that preys on fear. 

She emphatizes totally with Konstantin’s predicament and her silent outrage over what Semiradov is scheming to do makes her endanger her own life just so she can put a stop to his evil plans.

She also finds out that Konstantin has left a son, a crippled 7-year old boy living in an orphanage, and she tries her best for him to find his son. 

Pyotr gives a touching portrayal of the unwilling victim who eventually accepts his fate and shows that he is a true tragic hero. 

Bondarchuk is formidable as the menacing officer who has his own selfish designs and later gets the comeuppance he so deserves.  

Giving splendid support is Anton Vasiliev as Rigel, a scientist who initially supports Semiradov but later on changes his mind and helps Tatyana in her efforts to rescue Konstantin.

In the end, “Sputnik” might have echoes of “Alien”, but ultimately, it manages to do its own thing and tell its own story, never really just copying the original or ripping it off.  

Its own savage alien is appropriately threatening and terrifying, making this an entertaining horror flick that also shows a vision of the USSR in 1980, during the cold war, as an alien world detached from reality and humanity and run by sinister officers who do not give much importance to codes of conduct or morality.