Friday, 30 March 2012



The second half of last year brought me not one but two movies in which halfwits stumble aimlessly around in the dark somewhere under Moscow: After... and Moscow Zero. Neither of them were any good at all - intolerable and astonishingly stupid - but they did feature the concept of the Urban Explorer, someone who likes to sneak round man-made structures like decommissioned power stations, abandoned metro networks and secret bunkers. Frankly, arsing about in shafts and tunnels isn't really my sort of thing: give me a comfy sofa and some bourbons any day. Still, it should theoretically have made for an unusual and interesting locale for some decent horror movies.

Urban Explorers is certainly the best of the sub-genre I've seen so far: it's a long way from being a great horror movie but it delivers the grue perfectly well. In a fairly thin plot, four idiots arrive in Berlin in order to look round some old Nazi bunkers; on the way back their guide tumbles down a shaft and breaks his leg. Two of the girls head back to raise the alarm and fetch help: eventually a man does turn up, but is he what he claims to be? Obviously not - there wouldn't be a film if he was. Meanwhile, what's happened to the two girls?

I missed this one at last year's Frightfest for some reason - most likely seeing something else in the other screen - but was told that it had inadvertently played without the English subtitles, so scenes where the dialogue was mainly German were rendered incomprehensible. A pity, because it's actually a pretty decent stab at mixing the urbex phenomenon with the excessive nastiness of torture porn, as people are sadistically brutalised as part of some deranged nostalgia for the days of the East-West divide.

Perhaps the film it's closest to is Christopher Smith's Creep which seems to have a bad rep but which I rather enjoyed. Urban Explorers isn't a great film: it's nicely enough made and efficiently put together, and has a few nicely horrible look-away moments although yet again you never get to care about any of the victims. A decent enough rental.


Fair enough:

No comments: