‘Sputnik’: Like ‘Chernobyl’, but With an Alien

The movie is almost as scary as seeing it in an actual theater

In my first time going to the movies in many months, I was very excited to see Sputnik, especially considering that I love the genre of horror. I walked into the dimly-lit theater. There were only two bored-looking employees standing around, one teenager and one older woman. There wasn’t a single other person inside the lobby. I bought my ticket at the concession stand, and went into the theater with my friend. I saw one person sitting in the back, but other than that it was completely empty. It was a very good setting for a horror movie. 


Sputnik is a Russian horror film by debut feature director Egor Abramenko. It delivers excellent suspense and a plot that worth following. It runs a little under two hours, the perfect length for a movie in it’s genre. 

The location makes this movie unique. It takes place in Soviet Kazakhstan in 1983. A Russian astronaut returns to Earth from space, but he doesn’t come alone. He brings a strange alien parasite with him. The government tasks a disgraced doctor, Tatyana, played by Oksana Akinshina, with finding out more about the strange alien. It was interesting watching a horror film that takes place in the Soviet Union, which seems long ago and far away to me. The director has lit Sputnik darkly, as appropriate to the movie’s grim tone, kind of like the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, but with an alien. The majority of the movie takes place inside an underground military bunker, giving a claustrophobic feel that adds to the suspense and makes the alien much more menacing. 

SPUTNIK ★★★★(4/5 stars)
Directed by: Egor Ambramenko
Written by: Oleg Malovichko, Andrei Zolotarev
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Fedor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov
Running time: 113 min


Never for a second did I find myself bored while watching Sputnik. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it delivered the experience and entertainment I usually expect whenever I go to the movies. The monster was the best part. It was creepy and eerie, mixing very well with the gritty old-school Russian vibe. 

The movie touches on human nature and the moral choices people have to make when it comes to life and death. It puts the characters in perilous situations where no answer seems like the right answer, leaving you wanting to know what happens next, and keeping the audience engaged. There were some good action sequences that mixed very well with the tone of the rest of the movie. Overall, Sputnik was a thrilling Sci-fi horror film that felt authentic, especially because I saw it in a dark, scary movie theater in the middle of a pandemic.


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Elijah Pollack

Elijah Pollack written for both Book and Film Globe and Rock and Roll Globe. He's also the cohost of the Extra Credit podcast on Audible, and has written for Observer.com.

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