Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Dmitri Orlav, Svetlana Metkina, Tomas Motskus, Oleg Kamenshchikov, Aleksandr Vysokovsky, Aleksei Dmitriyev
Directed by Igor Shaviak
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Trackman is a Russian slasher flick that started getting some notice last year when an eye-catching poster and a promising trailer popped up on the web. Extra intrigue arose when it was announced that 20th Century Fox was distributing it. Heck, just the fact that it's a Russian slasher flick was pretty novel, as well. Unfortunately, the only thing Trackman proves is that anything the US can do badly, so can our Russian friends.
A small band of bank robbers hit a Moscow bank and flee with the money into the underground tunnels as part of their escape plan. They end up taking with them a trio of hostages from the bank: a young blonde woman, a young brunette woman who is easily frightened, and a cop who'll prove later on that he's probably not one of Moscow's finest. Almost as soon as they make their way into the dank, dark, abandoned metro tunnel system below the city one of the robbers will start yapping about the tales of these tunnels being the home of a Chernobyl victim said to be hideously disfigured and potentially dangerous. Not long after that they'll begin getting picked off by a masked killer dressed like a cross between Claude Rains' Invisible Man and a post-apocalyptic nomad. Even then the robbers will still spend a great deal of time squabbling amongst themselves as to whether or not this is all part of an elaborate double-cross on the part of one another.
I was with Trackman in the beginning, willing to give it some patience in hopes that maybe it would finally get on track. It never does. For about 80 or so minutes I got to watch a bunch of unlikable, almost constantly at odds with one another characters - that includes the whiny hostages too - do a whole hell of a lot of walking around, and when they weren't walking around they'd spend plenty of time just looking around. Nobody in this movie can just hear a sound in the darkness and quickly look in that direction; they'll have to stand there and stare the hell out of pretty much every direction. This does not make for compelling horror.
Then again, Trackman often seems to forget it’s supposed to be a horror movie. Much of it plays more like a lame heist flick with robbers distrusting one another and hostages taking sides with the captors that treat them nicer than the others. This doesn't make for compelling action or drama, either.
Then we come to the killer, who also ends up being a bore. His appearances up until the final showdown were greeted with funky, music video-style slow motion and somewhat obscuring spotlighting designed to ... Actually, I don't really know what the director was trying to accomplish with these techniques because they didn't make his appearances scarier and slowing down the film is never a good idea when the movie already lags as much as it does.
Despite the robbers having machine guns and grenades and the killer only having a pick-axe and a contraption for plucking eyeballs, they're remarkably impotent against their stalker. The killer, like far too many movie slashers of late, also has a fetish for collecting eyeballs. Why won't make any sense until the film's ultra lame final scene reveal and even then it really doesn't add up when you think about it.
If you're a slasher movie fan looking for gory kills then prepare for disappointment. Neither pick-axing nor the eye-gouging delivers much viscera and as far as slasher movie fatalities go they're all pretty substandard for the genre.
About the only thing worth praising about Trackman is the cavernous underground tunnels make for a pretty convincing set piece - a pity they're squandered for such an underachieving film. Realistically squalid and lit like a spookhouse, these tunnels look like the sort of place you could very easily start freaking out from claustrophobia with or without a homicidal maniac after you. This could have been a tremendously atmospheric film if the director could have ever found a way to muster any sense of atmosphere.
How do you say "uninteresting slasher movie" in Russian?
1 1/2 out of 5
0 out 5
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