The mystery of what lies below the streets of Moscow has fascinated people for years. The thought of subterranean tunnels going deep into the Earth. Where Soviet era military projects lie abandoned. Where labs lie covered in dust and dirt, the hazmat suits hanging on the wall and a lone gasmask sits where it was dropped in a panic. Railway tunnels walled up, doors that lead into darkness and stairs that go down into deep and cold water. The imagination is awash with could be and for groups of real-life explorers, determination keeps them going deeper even if the law prohibits them.
Called diggers, these urban explorers have made claims of what they’ve found over the years and it’s these stories that have inspired Diggers aka Diggery. Directed by Tikhon Kornev who wrote it alongside Aleksey Karaulov and Evgeny Kolyadintsev.
The setup is fantastic as we’re introduced to a group of characters who all get on a metro train one day and disappear into thin air. The media coverage dries up after a few days and investigations come up short leading to a young couple to decide to investigate themselves. Mainly as two of the people who disappeared were friends of theirs and they would have been on the same train had they not got separated.
To guide them into the dark underground they hire a digger, one who knows the tunnels well. The trio’s initial depth-diving a highlight of the film as we see some stunning underground imagery.
However, it’s not just these characters that we will be seeing. The movie pulling a surprise by jumping between the diggers and the people who were on the train. Just what happened to them down in the depths of Moscow?
You know what it is. You’ve seen these movies before and sadly, once the initial wow factor is out of the way, it falls in step. A monster calls these hidden pits home and both sides of the story are in deep trouble.
It’s not fresh at all even though it throws in an odd collection of characters who all have their own distinguishing features. However, there’s so many of them that most get little development or arcs. There’s not many you’ll care about which makes the tension the film tries to build feel flat. When it does get that side of things right, such as a great underwater sequence, it’s very exciting.
Elsewhere though it all begins to feel quite bland and the interest in locations begins to wane. Especially as we spend far more time in the same tunnel sections then most would want.
The reality of Diggers is that it is all style and very little substance. The excitement it builds with its first quarter slowly dissipates into nothing more than an average monster movie.
The Final Score - 5/10