Sometimes it's fun to dabble in international horror styles, as so many other cultures have their own horrors that we may not even think about. The typical young girl specter with black hair covering her face came over here from Japan and gave us a whole new level of supernatural horror that has been used so often, it eventually became an American horror trope. When it comes to Russian horror, unfortunately, I don't really know what's "typical", but it doesn't appear to be sci-fi horror so much as supernatural thrillers. So really, this is a bit of an odd one out. It's also not at all scary.
Set in 1983, two Russian cosmonauts are on an orbital research mission when they experience something horrible they can't explain, on their way back to Earth. The spacecraft malfunctions on its re-entry, and in the process of everything, one of the cosmonauts is violently killed while the other, Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) remains alive, but in some strange condition. He is taken to a military facility where a young psychiatrist named Dr. Tatyana Kilmova (Oksana Akinshina) is brought in to chat with him about his experiences. Little does she know just what is in store.
Kilmova was brought in under review for her unorthodox approaches to psychiatry. The officer in charge, Colonel Semiradov (Fedor Bondarchuk) recruits her, but doesn't tell her anything about the alien life form that hides within Konstantin, and relies on him as a sort of suit. With that symbiotic relationship, Semiradov wants to find a way to detach the creature from the cosmonaut. But what begins as a scientific study on alien life eventually turns into a horror show when Kilmova learns that most of what she's being told is a lie, and the creature feeds on just a little more than whatever Konstantin gives it.
The film is not without a few moments of genuine discomfort, like watching the alien come out of Konstantin, and there's some pretty decent implied gore (like seeing blood splatter in night vision). But for the life of me, there was nothing that made it a horror movie to me. It's like beating a dead horse, at this point, but once again, a lot is taken from the Alien franchise - namely the alien inhabiting a human body idea. Although I can admit that this one separates itself just enough, as being a research film more than a straight up scare-fest - but that might also be the problem.
Although it has its place, and I wouldn't necessarily direct sci-fi horror fans away from it, I do have to point out that it's largely quite boring. It's a lot of talk, and as soon as something interesting happens, it goes back to that talking. All in all, the chatter greatly outweighs anything of horrific stature, and not once did I feel that morbid excitement I get from other films like it. There's that little part of all of us horror fans who kinda route for the villain. We don't watch 'Friday the 13th' for the characters, we just wanna see what Jason's gonna do to them. This does not come with that. I felt nothing for this alien either way - it could have come or gone, and I genuinely feel the same about the movie as a whole. At the end of the day, it's a forgettable one... even if the creature effects were kinda cool.