Saturday, November 8, 2014

WTF Russia?!?: Viy/Vee (2014)

A strange case of Russia emulating others.  Today's film is Viy/Vee (depending on your translation), a 2014 Film from Russia that was years in the making.  It is a loose Adaptation of an old Russian tale, but with some extra stuff thrown in.  To 'spice things up,' they added a real Historical Character to the mix.  It's a little odd, yes.  This was one of THREE Films based on the Story to be put into Production in 2006, but this one took a bit longer to get made.  When it was finished in 2012, it still took until January 2014 to hit Theaters there.  Thanks to my secret source (aka my brother- who also got me Gatchaman), I have it now, instead of...whenever the Film is going to get a proper U.S. Release.  The Film tells the tale of a strange village rocked by an incident of the occult nature.  Will the mysterious outsider help or hurt the situation?  To find out (with few SPOILERS), read on...
In a small Village in the Ukraine, the place is rocked by the appearance of a mysterious beast.
Over in France, Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) is caught by his lady's Father (Charles Dance) and must flee.  He has work to do- he wants to map the World.

The Character is based on Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan, a Cartographer who did cross through a similar area to do just that.
He ends up in the area and then is told Stories about what has happened, giving the Film an excuse to throw in some CG-filled Action Scenes designed to exploit 3-D (which this was shot in).
The film's high point is a strange bit with Green in a Tavern when all sorts of crazy stuff starts to happen.  This is great, crazy stuff.
Here's another...
One more (mostly because I love how freaky this one is) and then I'm done- honest!
As Green tries to resume his work, the Village is under a lot of religious pressure to act swiftly.
I can't talk too much about the Ending without SPOILING too much, so let me just tease it a bit.
What is the true secret of the Village?  Will Jonathan survive to complete his work?  To find out, watch the Movie (whenever you can).  The End.
This is an interesting, but odd piece of filmmaking.  The thing is a mix of Fantasy, Horror, Period Piece, Action and Comedy.  It is like one of those cans of Mixed Nuts, I guess.  Full disclosure: my DVD has a non-official Subtitle Track (since there is no U.S. Release that I know of).  I say that because it is a little tricky for me to critique the Writing, since most of the Subtitles are literal English Translations (without taking into account our quirky grammatical rules).  I certainly appreciate having them, mind you, and I don't want you to think otherwise.  This does affect how the Characters seem to act and speak, so it is worth noting.  The problem with the Film is its length and how it uses its time.  Due to the bi-polar (which is an understatement) nature of the Film, you get tossed back and forth between weird Comedy bits, CG showcases, quirky Action, etc.  It is hard to keep up with.  Ultimately, it is a fun and interesting ride, even if it is a bit bumpy and weird.  Hopefully the official DVD Release will keep this nice message from the man behind the Translation...
Up next, a look back at an underrated (IMHO) Horror Film that I revisited recently.  When you're trapped on a boat with a monster, what hope do you have?  Stay tuned...

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