Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

söndag 30 december 2018

NAILS (2003)

Directed by: Andrey Iskanov
Written by: Andrey Iskanov
Stars:  Alexandra Batrumova, Svyatoslav Iliyasov, Andrey Iskanov... read more

Country: Russia
Style: Extreme
Runtime: 60min

The start of this HalluCinoGeNnN trilogy showcases genuine independent craftsmanship, exploring themes of mental suffering, torment of the psyche, profane violence and visual surrealism. NAILS is one of the landmark debut features of alternative cinema.

My first experience with Iskanov came to light when I suddenly found a trailer on YouTube many years ago. I had no specific knowledge of Russian cinema in general and I had even lesser knowledge of Iskanov. But after this experience, he soon would be one of my favorite directors of all time.

Unlike the first version from Unearthed Films, we'll now see it be presented by Iskanov himself, in a newly produced introduction for this release from Last Exit Entertainment. This edition includes a number of extra features and a new re-mastered, color corrected version of the film, supervised by Iskanov himself to make it the ultimate version it. It also has a exclusive bonus-CD containing the soundtrack composed by Andrey Iskanov and Alexander Shevchenko which also has one of the largest meanings in this title. The music provides a significant side-effect that matches the whole movie and make it much more unpleasant.

Nails (Gvozdi) was written in the early nineties, but was never fully completed until 2003 because of financial problems. Nails takes us to a ruined Russia where we meet a nameless hitman (Alexander Shevchenko) who after a mission comes home and suffer from anxiety. In the newspaper he reads an article about a man found dead with iron-nails in his head. In theory, he heales his anxiety in this way. The killer sees no other option than try this to get rid of his own demons. He hit a pair of six-inch nails into his head and suddenly he is feeling better. But the effect is only short-lived. Soon, he begins to see the world in a different shape and everything around him starts to regard as threats. The violence begins to escalate, both to the people around him, but also against himself and what started with six-inch nails will soon be replaced with circular saws and drills.

This is a social horror film and it begins in black and white standard and shows us a depraved and mysterious anxiety-charged expansion, and the further into the movie we get the more colors it offers. Finally the filtering explodes and eventually induces an epileptic emphasis that makes us just want to escape from the screen. So If we mix Jan Svankmajers surrealistic stop-motion works with German expressionism and Japanese cyberpunk, then you eventually got the contents of Nails. Andrey Iskanov is a true artist who over the years has grown significantly in my eyes. Nails are, after all, his first feature film, and a very nicely one. Although it may seem arise sloppy details in general, but he have good potential to succeed in saving it by using random special effects and filters that only he can perform in a reliable manner.

Much of Iskanovs films reflect memories of my own dreams I had as a child, and it gives me shivers down my spine. When I was younger I often dreamed about deformed faces, shady environments, dim lighting and obnoxious people who shuffle with strange and stiff steps. I got the same feelings when I look at Iskanovs surreal works. It literally scares the hell out of me, but in the same time I marvel of pure fascination.

I get a little upset when people doesn’t understand Iskanovs creativity and accuses him of being a failed director. As I mentioned before, this is his first feature film, and he fought long to get the work in balance. The film's plot isn’t difficult to understand and he have a talent that many other independent directors lacks - a deep fantasy and a potential feature for definitive conclusions to be incredibly powerful. It's scary, heartbreaking, surreal and psychologically stressful, and it gives you a hallucinogenic side-effect that you've never seen before.

My rating: 4 out of 5


Produced by:  Andrey Iskanov
Cinematography by: Andrey Iskanov
Editing by: Andrey Iskanov
Special Effects by: Andrey Iskanov, Alexander Shevchenko, Irina Nikitina
Music by: Andrey Iskanov, Alexander Shevchenko
Language: Russian
Color: Color

DistributorLast Exit Entertainment


Editor of and writer for Twisted Minds. Swedish consumer who collects odd articles and marries all abnormal creativities, whether it's music, film or literature. Former owner and writer for Surreal Goryfication and Goregasmic Cinema Magazine.