Blu-ray Review: VIY Is A Stunning Soviet-Era Supernatural Fantasy

4.5 out of 5 stars

A Russian film from 1967, Viy is a supernatural horror set in the 19th Century which sees a young priest watching over the dead body of a supposed witch for three nights. It’s something which sounds much easier than it actually is, and the young man gets more than he bargained for as he stands vigil. 

The first Soviet-era horror film to be officially released in the USSR, Viy might be less than 80 minutes long, but it manages to deliver more ingenuity and craft than most American films from the same time period.

Directed by Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov and based on a 1835 short story by Nikolai Gogol, Viy is a glorious piece of filmmaking which is loaded with brilliant special effects (which still impress), witty performances and some truly powerful visuals.

Viy might sound like generic genre fare, but I can assure you that you’ve never seen anything quite like this perfectly structured supernatural fantasy. 

Special Features

The mighty Eureka! Entertaiment‘s Masters Of Cinema series gives Viy a brilliant release. The blu-ray includes a new commentary from film historian and eastern European cinema expert Michael Brooke, a video essay on Russian novelist and Viy author Nikolai Gogol alongside an archival documentary. The release also includes A Holy Place, a 1990 film from Djordje Kadijevic which is also based on Nikolai Gogol’s source material. That film comes with a new interview with Kadijevic.

This is yet another stunning package from this leading boutique label. 

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