Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Upyr – review

Director: Sergey Vinokurov

Release date: 1997

Contains spoilers

This is going to be a review with no score, once again, as I managed to see Upyr but with very rubbish subtitles – to the point that it was sometimes unintelligible, and yet it was a film that had a certain something and made me wish that more meaningful subs had been available.

This is a Russia of desolate towns and empty streets, of organised crime and corrupt police and, above all else, vampires.

the hunters

The film starts aboard a ship with an older man (Nikolay Lavrov) speaking to a younger one (Aleksey Serebryakov). It was here that my problems with the subtitles began as some of the conversation makes very little sense as translated. However it is clear that these are killers and the younger man has been in the business three years. They have a device to help them but both prefer more old-fashioned methods. Their conversation continues as they dock and go into a café.

death of a hunter

The older man excuses himself to go to the toilet. Eventually the younger follows after him and he is sat against the wall – he has been bitten, he says. The younger one knows what to do and retrieving a stake, stakes the older one. He continues his journey, intending to meet their customer, but instead one of the customer's associates meets the young slayer (for that is what he is) and suggests that he has rescinded the contract and recommends he gets the ferry before it leaves (stranding him there for two days). He beats the associate up.


He eventually gets to the customer's home but he won’t let him in – until he suggests he will take his fee and leave. Once the door is open, he turns against the customer and forces him to admit that his daughter is being used as leverage to make him rescind the contract. As things develop, we discover that the customer has been turned (though the daughter hasn’t). There is a dangerous nature drawn around the young slayer and the action sequences are energetic but in short, accurate bursts.


So we get quite a bit of staking and discover that vampires cast no reflection – and thus he can distinguish organised crime thugs from vampires. I have seen the end sequence, where he meets the primary upyr, described as Tarkovskian and that is a lofty description but fair, I think. The film has a rollicking soundtrack provided by Tequilajazzz, I just wish I had been able to follow the dialogue better than I could.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: