Our curiosity about the afterlife has inspired many films ever since cinema begun, often featuring spirits that haunt and kill the living. The Russian horror film, Queen Of Spades: The Dark Rite, is about a group of young people who must battle against a very old spirit that wants to consume them.
After teenagers summon a notorious evil spirit called The Queen Of Spades [which has nothing to do with Pushkin’s famous short story of the same name] as a joke, one of them dies shortly afterwards, making the others realise the hell that they have unleashed upon themselves. They quickly beg for their parents’ help to defeat this evil spirit. The spirit then attacks the other kids, one at a time. When one of the girls in the group gets back in touch with her estranged father to help her defeat the spirit, he investigates ways to save his daughter.
Anyone familiar with the famous Bloody Mary story will recognise Russia’s unique version of the urban legend. With that in mind, Queen Of Spades: The Dark Rite is pretty standard teen horror. The film contains standard tropes such as a possessed young girl, people only being able to see ghosts in mirrors, levitating people and objects, and so on. While these do not make it a bad film by any means, it is a mostly run of the mill horror movie. Having said that, the foreboding dim lighting and shots of a snowy empty city certainly do convey the story’s sense of dread well.
Queen Of Spades: The Dark Rite is decent enough. It’s not particularly scary, but it has an engaging story to keep viewers interested throughout its duration. It also proves that Hollywood isn’t the only film industry struggling to come up with anything original.
Originally published here at filmink.com.au on Saturday 29 October 2016