It would be tempting to describe this as a Russian Primer.
Primer sparked a long stream of imitators, all ultra-low budget independent films where the heroes working in their garages make scientific breakthroughs which require minimal effects.
There’s something similar at work here, although with a lot more gore and a slew of digital effects.
Which is not to say that this one cost much more than most of the Primer retreads out there: there is a surreal quality to a lot of the effects work, which was undoubtedly cheaper than a more realistic approach would have been.
Only, this one plays out more as a mad scientist film, where a scientist who claims to be Tesla’s grandson (although there are also hints that maybe the original Tesla slipped into another dimension to hide…) convinces a woman whose daughter just died to participate in his dangerous experiments. Maybe – if she doesn’t die first – she can go back in time and save her daughter.
Unfortunately, he and his craven assistant only care about their own agenda and are just using her. What is worse is that each trip in their machine ages her by years.
And, of course, they have a graveyard just bursting with their past victims out behind the lab.
However, there is far more going on than even “Tesla” realizes…
There’s a lot of sheer style here, some trippy weird science (and I mean the EC comics variety, not John Hughes!), enough sinister plots running around for two Primers, plenty of violence and exploding people, crewmen fused into the decks of the USS Eldridge, and an enthusiastic barrage of strange lights and electrical discharges. It is also far darker than your typical Primer clone, even though the sub-genre thrives on the dark and slightly twisted side of human nature.
All in all, it’s an interesting Russian “Indie”, with a lot of clever ideas, secrets within secrets and a few good shocks (there is one unexpected moment when one of their past victims puts in a surprise appearance). Perhaps the ending works too hard at pulling out a happy ending that really isn’t much of a happy ending, and the final makeup of their victim really doesn’t work at all, but those’re probably the only major flaws visible.
It’s definitely worth a view…
Depending on your tolerance for subtitles, of course.