‘Ghost Mountaineer’ (‘Must alpinist’): Film Review

A hiking outing to Siberia becomes a nightmarish distress in this wintry Estonian thriller.

A luscious story of death, stupidity and mind-bending abnormal weirdness set in a snowy high peaks of Siberia, Ghost Mountaineer is a singular outing into silken genre filmmaking from a Baltic commonwealth of Estonia. The tract was desirous by genuine events in writer-director Urmas Eero Liiv’s possess youth, yet he teasingly refuses to give full sum in promotional interviews. Currently on domestic recover after premiering during Tallinn’s Black Nights film festival final month, Liiv’s perplexed thespian entrance will expected infer a tough sell overseas, though it should interest to genre-friendly festivals and fans with an big opinion to schlock-horror thrillers.

The movement takes place in 1989, a nightfall days of a aged Soviet Union. Six Estonian students, mostly geologists, transport easterly by trans-Siberian railway into Buryatia, a remote segment tighten to a Mongolian border. Their devise is to travel a feeble charted towering operation in hunt of a elaborate vegetable nephrite, though bad planning, passionate tragedy and inner rifts shortly start to erode organisation morale. Party-loving buffoon Eero, played by Matt Damon look-alike Priit Pius, also enjoys scaring a others with forged folk tales about a ruthless “ghost mountaineer” who still haunts these snowy peaks. But a fear takes a some-more critical spin when a expedition’s self-elected alpha-male personality Olle (Reimoo Sagor) disappears, apparently buried underneath a weird mini avalanche.

After unwell to locate Olle’s body, a distraught students deplane from a towering to news his disappearance. But a internal military arch (Vadim Andreev) is a sadistic Russian proxy who offers these outsiders a really glacial welcome, seizing their passports and holding them warrant as intensity murder suspects. Meanwhile, a inland Buryat locals infer increasingly hostile, generally after they learn a Estonians have been hidden their dedicated towering stone. As their nerves start to fray, a youngsters face a array of nightmarish hurdles including a night in a scary towering cabin, a horrible autopsy in a sub-zero morgue, and a gruesome visitation from a haunt mountaineer.

Wildly disproportionate in gait and tone, Ghost Mountaineer feels like 5 opposite films jostling for attention, with nothing utterly achieving supremacy. Initially a sincerely true danger thriller about appealing youngsters removing mislaid in a wilderness, it afterwards veers teasingly towards murder mystery, paranormal fear movie, visionary angel story and dim domestic joke about a inbred crime of Soviet Communism. All a characters are feeble delineated, generally a Buryat villagers, who are embellished in broad-brush terms as fallacious primitives and creepy sex pests. The jumpy modifying and strident measure are also both disorienting, mostly crashing into a movement during inapt times.

That said, Liiv somehow salvages a irregularly retaining thriller out of this sprawling mess, if usually since torment is severely amplified when a film dispenses with bound genre manners and account logic. The breathtaking towering vistas, partly shot in Italy, are also fantastic while a pale tract twists might even infer a offered indicate to fans of more cultish Euro-pulp cinema. Concluding with an refurbish on what a genuine survivors of these comfortless events are doing now, Ghost Mountaineer is a injured though intriguing cocktail of fact, novella and folklore.

Production company: Kopli Kinokompanii

Cast: Priit Pius, Liis Lass, Hanna Martinson, Reimoo Sagor, Rait Õunapuu, Vadim Andreev

Director, screenwriter: Urmas Eero Liiv

Producer: Anneli Ahven

Cinematographer: Ants Martin Vahur

Editors: Urmas Eero Liiv, Tambet Tasuja

Art director: Katrin Sipelgas

Music: Tiit Kikas, Arian Levin

Sales company: Kopli Kinokompanii, Tallinn

100 minutes