While a space traveler’s greatest fear is typically what’s waiting out there in the great unknown, what they bring back to Earth could be much, much worse. That’s the premise of Russian filmmaker Egor Abramenko’s feature debut “Sputnik,” a sci-fi chiller with the stately echoes of Ridley Scott’s classic “Alien.” Set in the 1980s, “Sputnik” blends creature-feature effects with heady extraterrestrial thrills. An official selection of the canceled 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, the movie debuts from IFC Midnight in select theaters and on VOD August 14. Watch the trailer for the film below.
Here’s the creepy synopsis: “Due to her controversial methods, young doctor Tatiana Yurievna (Oksana Akinshina, ‘Lilya 4-Ever’) is on the precipice of losing her medical license. Her career may not be over, though. After she’s recruited by the military, Tatiana is brought to a secure science research facility to assess a very special case, that of Konstantin Sergeyevich (Pyotr Fyodorov, ‘The Darkest Hour’), a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and has returned to Earth with a unique condition: there’s something living inside of him that only shows itself late at night. The military has nefarious plans for it. Tatiana wants to stop it from killing Konstantin. And the creature itself thrives on destruction.”
In IndieWire’s summer preview, Executive Editor and Chief Film Critic Eric Kohn praised the thriller, which is also set for the Sitges Film Festival in Spain this fall. “The first feature from Egor Abramenko takes a B-movie conceit, injects it with a sizable budget, and delivers a visceral extraterrestrial invasion story so attuned to the spirit of the ‘Alien’ movies it may as well exist in its expanded universe,” Kohn wrote. “The story takes place in the early ’80s, and revolves around a cosmonaut who seems to have brought a monstrous being home with him from space. The creature leaves its host’s body at night to feed before retreating, leaving Russian researchers baffled and uncertain whether to fear the new arrival or harness it as a weapon.”
Kohn also wrote, “Abramenko’s debut builds to a gory showdown, while raising familiar questions about whether the governmental forces might be even worse than the monster in their crosshairs. Fortunately, they’re not the real stars: ‘Sputnik’ centers on the efforts of a conflicted young doctor (Akinsha) as she works to contain the intergalactic threat, which basically means the spirit of Ripley parachuting into Soviet-era Russia, and we’re all for it.”
Written by Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev, “Sputnik” is inspired by Abramenko’s 2017 short film “The Passenger.”