With regard to this odd and experimental black-and-white Russian film, loosely based on the Alexei Tolstoy short story The Vampire's Family, the director says: "This is a chronicle of the death of Father Frost" (the Ru...展开ssian equivalent of Santa Claus) "or rather an announcement of it. Necrocreativity inspires a special state of feelings, mind and spirit... What is it? The conclusion is not obvious, but here it is -- one wants to think it over -- necrorealism is humanism." In the story, the sharply contrasting lives of two brothers are compared. One of them, a biologist, is a reasonable, scientific and rational man, fascinated by the workings of natural processes. Perhaps he is even a bit too thoughtful. The other is completely given over to his instincts and lives in the country with his wife and child, living directly from his feelings. Moments of violence, horror, and aberrant sexuality (S&M and bondage) are interspersed with images of great spaciousness and beauty and the evocation of dark moods. Some critics compared its visual style to that of the late Andrei Tarkovsky, while it explores a thought territory that is uniquely its own.
~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide