For some time I’ve found myself with a strong affliction for watching extreme and disturbing films that haven’t been watched by the masses, and it always comes to the same conclusion; most of these films haven’t been watched because they will leave you with mild PTSD. French extreme found footage film Sorgoi Prakov: My European Dream or Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare from director Rafeal Cherkaski does exactly that, and has left a dirty imprint on my frontal lobe for longer than I’d have expected…

Sorgoi is a journalist from a not-mentioned Eastern European country, who is making a documentary about following his European dream which starts in Paris and will continue around the rest of Europe. At first his dream seems to be a reality, however Sorgoi soon begins to struggle with adapting to the culture and lifestyle and finds that not everything is as he expected. When his producers stop returning his calls and sending money, Sorgoi realises he’s broke and with nowhere to go. It’s not long until madness grips his mind and takes him into a nightmare.

Sorgoï Prakov: My European Dream / Descent Into Darkness review

This was a film that I happened to stumble across and has received next to no recognition in the extreme cinema realm, which needs to change immediately. First of all, you need to have a little patience with My European Dream because the first act is slow and doesn’t offer much in terms of extremity but gives an insight into the fascination Sorgoi has come to develop for most European countries and the idyllic lifestyle he was expecting to find in the romantic city of France. Although he experiences many firsts that show him his dream is not too much of a desperate hope including meeting beautiful women, finding exciting friends to party with and getting a taste for drinks and drugs, the bad experiences begin to outweigh the good quite quickly. He finds himself the target of theft on a few occasions due to his very blatant expensive camera equipment, beatings from gangs in the night and then faces the very real grips of being lonely. 

Filmed entirely through the point of view of Sorgoi’s head camera or waist camera, the audience begin to feel a close connection with Sorgoi and go through every traumatic ordeal as he does. Once he runs out of money and his producers stop responding to him, it becomes clear that not only is he homeless but he also has no way of returning, and therefore his only hope is to continue finishing the documentary he set out to make and hope that his producers get in touch. From here he starts to spiral quicker and quicker into a state of depression and despair; through his degenerating state of mind he finds amusement in starting fights, committing disgusting acts of defecation in daylight, all the while laughing hysterically through every disturbing thing he does. It’s not until Sorgoi callously stabs a homeless man and sets him alight that the audience realise he has fallen into the clutches of insanity and there is no return from there.

Sorgoï Prakov: My European Dream / Descent Into Darkness review

Cherkaski stars as our leading man Sorgoi, and gives the performance of a lifetime. There is not a second throughout that he does not give a convincing portrayal of the lovable yet slightly naive Sorgoi, who slowly deteriorates into a person who is no longer recognisable. Once he has peeled away the human skin that holds him together and unleashed his deranged insanity the film turns into a shocking exploit of extreme horror that is similar to what is witnessed in films such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and many other French extreme movies. Sorgoi commits acts that go beyond comprehendible reason, and really do shock the senses. When you compare the opening tone and atmosphere of the film to that which is presented towards the culminating scenes, the differences are in abundance and exponential. 

Sorgoi Prakov: My European Dream held me in it’s arms and then abused me with shock, depravity and the most realistic tale of insanity. This film gripped me from the very start and took me on a journey that I was never expecting, and has lingered with me for far too long afterwards.

Verdict: 5 out of 5

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