Stars: Ken Foree, Katarina Cas, Monte Markham, Dragan Micanovic, Denis Muric, Miroljub Leso, Sonja Vukicevic, Mick Garris, Ratko Turcinovic | Written by Barry Keating, Milan Konjevic | Directed by Dejan Zecevic
Produced by Milan Todorovic and Marko Jocic, The Rift stars Ken Foree (Dawn Of The Dead), Monte Markham (The Six Million Dollar Man) and Katarina Kas (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as CIA agents sent to explore the aftermath of a US space craft which has crashed in Serbia. In a derelict building they discover an astronaut who holds the secret to the ill fated mission and is the carrier of a mysterious virus which threatens mankind by bringing the dead back from the grave.
Billed as Serbia’s first ever sci-fi film, The Rift comes from the writing team of Barry Keating and Milan Konjevic, both of whom previously penned Killer Mermaids and Apocalypse of the Dead – which also starred zombie-killing legend Ken Foree. Unlike that “other” Serbian film, which pushed the boundaries of good taste, this at least attempts to tell a decent story, in a film that is aimed squarely at an international market (why else would it be mainly shot in English?) and as broad an audience as possible. Does it succeed? In a word, yes.
An X-Filesian trip into the wilds of Serbia, The Rift is a well made, slow burning sci-fi thriller, which explores themes around god, religion, faith, human existence and our place in the wider universe; and is a damn fine sci-fi thriller at the same time!
Playing out more like a classic mystery thriller than a total fear-filled horror, The Rift is – essentially – a story about an alien invasion. However this is an invasion that isn’t all huge explosions and big-budget set pieces a la Independence Day, instead Zecevic’s film reminded me very much of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers: a look at what happens to those people in a small town when someone, or something, invades their space.
And invade they do, by bringing the dead back to life! Yes, it seems Ken Foree can’t catch a break when it comes to the undead – although this time the dead aren’t looking to chow down on the living, rather deliver messages from whomever, or whatever, has come to Earth. The cause of all this trippy, undead, sci-fi mystery? The titular rift, which somehow extends from the moon to a small field in Serbia, crossing not only space but time. Think of The Rift as like a more grown-up version of the Doctor Who story The Impossible Astronaut and you’d be somewhere close…
The film does fall apart slightly when Monte Markham drops off the screen and Ken Foree proceeds to lose the plot, [special shout to Monte Markham, one of THE hardest working actors of the 80s and 90s, who was in just about every TV show I saw as a kid - who, in The Rift, is still as commanding and charismatic as he ever was], turning the film into a more traditional “stalk and slash” type tale. However for most The Rift‘s taut ninety-minute runtime, Zecevic’s film is a fantastic example of the genre, well worth any sci-fi fans time.
The Rift is out now on DVD from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.