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Getting lost, wandering home whilst on leave from his seminary, novice monk Khoma stays in the barn of an old woman. A scuffle breaks out. Later, he is summoned to stand and pray over a young dead woman, in the local church, for three nights. It is here that, while in the long, dark nights of the locked doors, the dead regain life, the souls of Hell taunt the young monk to near terrifying insanity, and the test of Faith will be as powerful as the witches, monsters and the mighty demon Viy who haunt his every step and bay for his very soul. Written by
I'm not particularly a fan of horror flicks. I watched this movie simply because I wanted to see something Russian. But as I found out, this is much more than a typical horror flick. It has a lyrical quality to it almost like a Greek play. True, it has ghosts & goblins & creepy things in it. But so do Greek plays.
I consider this to be a fantasy or an allegory with some nice subtle insights about rustic life and the human condition in general. Some of the witty dialogue is absolutely priceless. I'm not familiar with the writings of Gogol who wrote the original story of "Viy", but if you're a fan of Tolstoy's short stories ("The Imp and the Crust") or Guy de Maupassant ("The Devil") or maybe the lighter side of Poe ("Never Bet the Devil Your Head"), then this'll be right up your alley.
And of course it'll scare the socks off your arse.
The camera illusions in this movie are absolutely 1st class. Don't be put off by the fact that it had a "low budget" by Hollywood standards. The minimalist approach really brought out the director's creativity in this case. Like an old 1940s Jean Cocteau film, the special effects are timeless in their simplicity, and they will hold up for the next 50 years, long after CGI has gone the way of the dodo (and not a moment too soon).
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