Billy Hughes, a mute make-up artist working on a slasher movie being shot in Moscow, is locked in the studio after hours. While there, she witnesses a brutal murder, and must first escape capture at that time, then keep from being killed before convincing authorities of what she's seen. Plot twists galore follow as Billy tries to stay alive.Written by
James Meek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An American film crew are based in Moscow with Russians making up much of the actual crew outside of the main elements. Andy is the director with his girlfriend and her mute sister Billy as makeup artist. One night after a shoot Billy finds herself locked in the large building being used as the main studio. She comes downstairs having heard a noise to find two men making a porno film that quickly becomes a snuff film before her eyes. Billy flees the men but finds herself with no evidence to back up her claim. Meanwhile the shadowy figure behind the murder plans to cover all loose ends.
I have managed to miss this film everytime it has come on TV and everytime it was in a cinema. The closest I got was taping it once but it started late and I only got 20 minutes. Happily I finally got my video skills together and caught it late the other night. I had heard average reviews of this and only hoped that it would be enjoyable which it was.
The plot starts simple (mute girl in peril) and builds later into a bit of a wider conspiracy. The first half of the film is it's strength, real terror, genuine tension and thrills. The actual murder is horrible and shot well to let you imagine more than you see. The following pursuit is also excellent and very well directed. The second half of the film is still very enjoyable and tense but never reaches those heights again. The plot opens up to a wider conspiracy and shadowy figures and it looses much of it's tightness as a result. The film is still very good mind you and is much better than a lot of large budget thrillers.
It isn't scary but it is very thrilling. The director makes plenty of good shots to help crank it up a notch when needed, however his script does falter at the final few hurdles Zudina is good and does really well as the girl in peril. She can't scream or cry and has to carry her fear in her eyes which she does well. Ripley and Richards are more there for comedy value but do help lighten the tone. The rest of the cast are anonymous chasers and don't have too much presence, but the director has done such a good job with the tension that they don't need to be monsters, only men. Guinness is OK I guess. It's interesting to have him in such a film but did no one else notice how badly redubbed he was. It was clear he had redone his lines in a studio the sound quality was to crisp compared to other's dialogue and it didn't match with his lips as it should have done shame.
Overall I enjoyed this film. For the most part it is simple, tight and very effective. Great tension. All the cast really put their fear in their eyes rather than relying on screams etc to convey it. The second half of the film dips a little as the plot gets a bit baggy and slightly less convincing but by then you should be sold and it's energy carries it over some bits that drag a little. Overall a really good little thriller.
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