Dark World (Тёмный мир) is a Russian fantasy thriller released in 2010. It was inspired in part by several Russian fairy tales, including Baba Yaga and Kashchey the Immortal. It was directed by Anton Megerdichev, who is primarily known for the 2013 drama Metro (Метро). Dark World starred Svetlana Ivanova, known for her starring roles in August Eighth (Автуст. Восьмого), Legend No. 17 (Легенда но. 17), and Franz + Polina (Франц + Полина).

The film tells the story of a group of literature students who go on an expedition to a small village in northern Russia to research mysticism and folklore in the area. Two of the students end up finding a cemetery in the woods—complete with a mummy with a shield. Marina, one of the students, touches the shield and gains paranormal powers. But she also awakens an ancient evil force, and the students must come together to fight against it in a battle that comes to involve not only magic but also helicopters and special forces.

The critical response to the film was negative overall, though there were a few bright spots. In a departure from reviews of many similar Russian films, some critics rated the acting highly but the special effects—especially the 3D, which this film used for the first time in a film produced in Russia—as less than impressive. Some also found the mix of mysticism and modern-day action elements odd. The film was commercially successful, though, and a sequel, Dark World: Equilibrium (Темный мир: Равновевие), was released in 2012.

Director: Anton Megerdichev
Stars: Svetlana Ivanova, Ivan Zhidkov, Yelena Panova, Sergey Ugryumov, Vladimir Nosik
Production company: Central Partnership
Box office take: $8.35 million

 

The official trailer:

Dark World

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.