Director: Mikhail Brashinsky
Script: Mikhail Brashinsky
Cast: Tatyana Kolganova, Timofey Yeletsky, Tatyana Ryabokon, Yelena Belskaya, Sath Paavola, Nanna Makinen
Running time: 70 minutes
Following the death of his father, teenager, Stas, is taken on a trip to Finland by his mother, as a treat, although it quickly becomes apparent that in order to save money she’s got them on a bargain basement coach trip, the prime aim of which is to shop over the border. This doesn’t please our beer-swilling teen and he and his mother say lots of nasty things to each other enroute to their destination; most of which they don’t really mean.
Stopping off around dawn at an out-of-town mall, (Gigantti), the coach party are given special permission to take a look around the deserted store and make some additional purchases. All seems to be fairly normal (if shopping at 5am is normal) until Stas notices a female member of staff locking them all inside the building and a trail of blood leading to a back storeroom. Investigating further Stas and his mum find a dead body, in between bickering with each other, and, when they return to the main store they realise that they’re all in danger after seeing other store staff attacking the hapless shoppers. It all seems to be going a bit zombie!
Shopping Tour is a film of two halves. The first half basically sets up the story and is quite drawn out, with lots of travelogue footage of the mother and son’s journey through some rather industrial-looking parts of Russia and then on into more rural Finland. While the dynamics between the two feel very real, it doesn’t necessarily make for riveting viewing. Where the film does hit its stride though is when all sorts of gooey carnage breaks out in the DIY store, and some of the attacks by the crazed locals are quite sudden and shocking.
The acting from the two leads is pretty decent, although the woman playing the mother is much more convincing than the rest of the cast. There’s also some quite fun dialogue between the two as they bicker and banter with each other. At one point, when the two of them are avoiding the infected people, the mother says: ‘Maybe they’ll go to lunch soon’, to which her son responds with: ‘We are lunch!’
Unfortunately there’s a fair bit of shaky camera work going on, which I’m blaming on the likes of director Paul Greengrass and his Bourne films again (because I can), and there are a few moments of incredulity to be had when characters do the most stupid things or plot points are a bit contrived to keep the story heading in the right direction.
It’s certainly refreshing to see a mother/son ‘hero team’ fronting a film for once and I’d like to see what befalls the duo next on their adventures. It all ends a bit too abruptly for my liking, although the final scene involving a small child and an axe is memorable for all the wrong reasons!
The central premise behind the ‘crazy people’ in the movie is an interesting one and certainly quite original; quite preposterous, but refreshingly original! There’s also a microwave on the bus – is that rather weird or is that just me?
Sharp Teeth Films are distributing Shopping Tour on DVD. Extras include trailers for other Sharp Teeth Films releases including Septic Man, You Are Not Alone and Asmodexia; a photo gallery with 21 behind the scenes shots; and a making of documentary, called ‘You can whittle a hedgehog’ (30 mins) where we get to see some scenes being set up and shot and the make-up effects guys doing their sticky stuff. The film was mostly shot in St Petersburg, apparently.