OCTOBER 28, 2008
Other than the Night/Day Watch movies, I can’t think of too many Russian horror films (and those are barely horror), but I hope that Trackman (Russian: Putevoy Obkhodchik) isn’t indicative of their quality. While competently made and all, it’s one of the dullest and least imaginative slasher movies I’ve seen in quite some time. And I’ve recently seen The Gates Of Hell.
Basically, every single scene in the film was done, and better, in Scarecrows (Bank robbers hiding out somewhere with a monster), My Bloody Valentine (the killer looks almost identical), Creep*/Raw Meat (the locale, similar situations), and any horror movie in which hostages eventually align with their captors to fight off their common enemy (take your pick). I’m ok with “paying homage” to older films, but in order to keep my interest, you gotta do something new on the creative or the visual side of things. Neither writer (Valeriy Krechetov, who also produced) or director Igor Shavlak deliver on that end.
To be fair, it’s not a gorefest, and Krechetov’s script attempts to wring some suspense out of the proceedings; the body count is rather low and it takes a while to get to any of the carnage. But again, with a story this generic, anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie before (not just the ones I mentioned) won’t really believe that all of these guys are going to make it out OK, and you can pretty much peg the two survivors before the bank robbery that sets everything in motion occurs. And the reveal of the killer’s “identity” is pretty ridiculous. If you’re gonna swipe from old slashers, why not take a cue from Halloween and just leave it up to our imagination?
The DVD has no extras to speak of (it was actually the reason I chose it over some of the other Ghost House movies), but I do have to give thanks to Sony (or whoever it was) for providing an English language dub. While I used the Russian track for a while, it was nice to be able to switch over to English once it became clear that this one wasn’t going to hold my undivided attention; I could go into the kitchen and stir my rice without missing a single uninteresting word! I noticed that foreign films (particularly Asian ones) are increasingly lax in providing dubbed trucks for us idiots, so this was a nice little surprise. It’s also a damn fine transfer; lot of detail in the image, despite being very dark throughout almost the entire film (they enter the sewer in like the first 10 minutes), which makes 2 for 2 for this set after Reeker 2.
What say you?
*I saw Creep at the same festival that I saw Reeker, and now I have watched the Reeker sequel and a Creep ripoff back to back!