Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
Touted by the head of the Russian film industry as Russia’s ‘answer to Tarantino’, this spectacular, wickedly convoluted saga of vampire wars in 21st-century Moscow is the first instalment of a series based on Sergei Lukyanenko’s immensely popular novels. To Russian audiences, the quality of the film’s computer-generated images and its blatant steals from The Matrix, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings – not to mention the pervasive product placement – made it gratifyingly like an American movie, clinching its success as the country’s first ‘blockbuster’. Hollywood was gratified too – and director Timur Bekmambetov is heading there to complete the series.
“Within the first sinister 10 minutes it’s clear that there’s good reason for this supernatural epic’s record-breaking success and avid cult following. Set on the gritty streets and subways of modern day Moscow, and hearkening back to bloody medieval battles, this audacious film takes every element of horror, fantasy and action genres and emerges with something completely innovative.” — Los Angeles Film Festival