Well… I know… it’s been another couple of weeks… (Bad kitty!! Baaaad, bad kitty!!). So that means it’s most definitely time, long overdue, for another review here at the ol’ Litterbox, and this time out, it’s another visit to the grim world of the Zombie Apocalypse, Russian style, with the 2012 film “Meteletsa: Winter of the Dead”. Did somebody say… “Zombies”? Yep… you all know a certain wee Catlady can never get enough of those… 😉
Synopsis? Well, “The Russian Winter is a terrible thing…… especially if it arrives in mid-July. It was the hottest Russian summer on record until a freak snowstorm breaks that heat and heralds the arrival of a flesh-hungry army of the undead. They seem hell bent on destroying a sleepy Russian town and ruining the day of intrepid Moscow TV reporter, Kosta and the sexy rollerblading girl he ran into while running for his life. Now all he has to do is somehow avoid the zombies, get the girl, stop from being shot by her father, and stay away of the sharp end of a mad Russian Orthodox Priest’s axe while still making his deadline!”
This one’s been out for a while now, and it’s another of those odd foreign films that stubbornly avoided falling into my clutches. No DVD… until recently… and then only a Spanish release missing those ever so handy English subtitles I want. But finally it popped up. On steaming video release…. hey… wait a minute that’s new. But… since I’ve got an Amazon account, I’m all set I guess. Wanna know how it all went? Then ya know what ya gotta do, eh, Gentle Visitors? 😉
I would have missed the availability of this one if it weren’t for my friend Sam telling me she’d seen it advertised on Amazon. 10 years younger than me she’s sooooo darn much more comfortable with the whole modern “plugged-in” world that we all live in today. Streaming video… social media…. Internet-only web series… the “cloud”…. those are certainly things I’m not exactly up to speed on. I definitely still think “analog” in what is now a “digital” world. Even though I’m pretty much a whiz on the whole Internet shopping thing world wide, it seems I just kinda have a blind spot when it comes to the idea of “digital media”. I mean… if it’s not a tangible physical thing, then how can you say you “own” it? Just feels wrong…. (My goodness…. I’m actually having one of those “Back in my day” moments…. I guess I really am an old lady…. Hehehehe!!!)
Anyways… this one gets going right away. It’s a fairly unpretentious little slice of zombie cinema that knows it doesn’t really need to give too much backstory to get a plot off the ground in this genre. Why are the naughty zombies running amok? No idea, really… there’s some weird unseasonable snow storm in mid summer and BAM!!! Up to our necks in the cranky “living impaired”. Our story sort of follows a young TV reporter from Moscow, named Kostya (or Constantine…. the subtitles use one name and the ads for this one use another… Go figure…) who has come to a small nameless regional Russian city to cover the local elections for his TV network. Kostya (played by Mikhail Borzenkov) is trying to find his way to a big protest rally where he’s supposed to hook up with his cameraman and support guys, but the sudden onset of the Zombie Apocalypse leaves him lost and stranded somewhere in the city with only the company of a plucky young rollerblading hottie named Iskra (played by Tatyana Zhevnova). The two of them spend most of the movie trying to make their way to some kind of safety with much of the usual zombie hi-jinx to spice things up along the way.
While this is happening, we get a kind of “found footage” thing as cameraman Vladik (played by Ilya Cherepko) and crew manage to team up with local strongman and political candidate Khan (played by Sergey Shirochin) and his super well armed “bodyguards” to do basically the same thing. Khan is not just a politician…. nope. He’s one of those rich Russian mafia guys mucking about in politics and has decided to use the Zombie Apocalypse to settle the score with his chief rival, local Militia Captain Igor Knyazev (played by Dmitriy Kozhuro) for having run off with Khan’s younger sexy wife Dasha (played by Yuliya Yudintseva). Oh… and just to complicate things as we pop back and forth between groups, naturally hot little Iskra turns out to be Khan’s daughter. You just know that assures us our two groups will have to meet up eventually….
Yes… yes… eventually… at least that’s the basic idea, anyways. Problem is we don’t get a whole lot of character development or story while we’re waiting for that to happen, Lots and lots of zombies… but we all sort of expected that, didn’t we? You’d sort of expect Kostya and Iskra to somehow become a couple, romantic feelings all magnified by the perils they have to survive together and whatnot. Nope… doesn’t really happen. Ok… Ok… then there’s the whole issue of Iskra, her daddy, and her estranged mother and her new lover. That’s gotta lead to some drama, right? Ummmmm…. yeah… not really. We get one scene between Iskra and Dasha where we figure out that Iskra is pissed with mommy about her affair, but after having a small fight that wrecks their car, nothing gets resolved and before any real progress is made both Dasha and Igor become yet another part of the body count. Heck… Khan never even catches up with them to settle things either. So what is our story all about then? Well… it’s not about that crazy ax wielding priest, Father Michael (played by Aleksandr Abramovich) whom we saw in the Trailers for this one either. Now there’s a potentially interesting guy. But nope… he just sort of show up towards the end of our movie to behead a few zombies in a nifty scene or two before joining our list of dead cast members. Darn….
Nope. Basically we get a fairly muddled mess of a film that seems to understand the whole “zombies want to eat everybody” idea, but no clue how to actually populate out story with any characters you want to root for while all the gory stuff is unfolding. That’s a real shame too… because for a low budget Russian film, the zombie stuff is actually pretty good all round for the most part.
So then, does anybody survive this one? Ummmm… after my review so far, do any of you really care? No? Didn’t think so. Let’s just say… there are two survivors… just exactly who you’d suspect they would be… and the movie sets itself up for a sequel at the finale. I just wouldn’t ever expect to see that get made… trust me.
Sigh. Yep, I have to admit I was pretty darn disappointed with this one. Much of that was probably due to the way in which I watched this one. Somehow I’m getting the feeling that I’ll never be a fan of “Streaming Video On Demand” as a way of receiving my foreign movie fix. I just don’t like watching a movie on my desktop computer. Nope. Too darn tiny. Have to sit in front of my desktop rather than lay on my couch and relax…. Too darn laggy too. Yep. It was sooooo darn annoying to have to keep physically “thunking” my computer’s wireless link to get the film to play every five minutes or so as it would lock up and freeze on me. My bad, I suppose… but I never get that problem with my DVD player. (Yes… yes… I know. Miyuki’s being “Little Miss Cranky Pants” again… But, hey…. back in my day…. 🙂 ) At least this whole streaming thing made it one of those films I could watch in an afternoon while Carolyn was at work… thank goodness my dear wife didn’t have to sit through it with me. She’s a really… really… good sport, but I actually want her to enjoy sharing my goofy fascination with foreign films not dread them and I’m thinking this experience wouldn’t have me helped with that. Nope. Not at all.
So. With all that, I guess that means this wee Catgirl is going to have to give “Meteletsa: Winter of the Dead” a paltry 2 “Meows” out of 5 overall. yep. Just can’t really recommend it for a watch… even at 2-3$ for a one time rental. Darn it. I really had been expecting a crazy lil’ gem of a movie after the years I spent waiting for it. Just didn’t work out that way. Still…. on the plus side, the actual chance to catch what would otherwise have been yet another foreign horror film tantalizingly out of this wee lady’s reach means that if I pay attention, there are probably a few other films lurking out there either on Amazon or iTunes that can help fill in the blanks for movies I just gotta see at any cost…. Guess I have to keep my eyes open from now on.
Yep… so I guess that’s that. There’s a Trailer for this one… actually there has been for a while now, although I had the darnedest time finding the film itself. So even if your Favorite Catgirl Movie Reviewer didn’t like it all that much, if it’s something you think might tickle you just the right way too, here goes! 🙂