Producer Alexey Petrukhin and director Oleg Stepchenko wowed investors with a four minute short they shot detailing the priest Khoma's terrifying night alone in the church with Aleksey Petrukhin essaying the role of the priest (this footage is included in the final film). There was only one small problem. They hadn’t even written the script yet.
According to a behind-the-scenes documentary, screenwriting took place for several months in 2006 with filming scheduled to take place in the sections between autumn 2006 and spring 2007. It was to be a Russia/Ukraine/Czech Republic/U.K. co-production on a budget of $21 million dollars. “How on Earth could they make an effects heavy film with such a pittance?” screams all of Hollywood. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you aren't holding meetings at Spago's every day.
An English cartographer, Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng), leaves his pregnant betrothed and her irate father (Charles Dance) to create a map of the Carpathians. Riding in his mechanical, driver-less carriage, he runs across some monks who have a horrible tale to tell. During a bout of heavy drinking of the local unfiltered moonshine, they tell him of a witch who resides in a nearby village. The two were accompanying a third. The third was a young priest (Petrukhin) who was tasked to stand vigil over the corpse of a beautiful girl in a church, high on a hill over looking the village. They say that his simple vigil turned into a hellish nightmare when the corpse of the beautiful girl turned out to be a witch. Barely able to escape with his life, the priest had never been seen again.
Flush with the success of the first film at the Russian box office, the filmmakers have recommitted to making their sequel, now titled VIY 2: PUTESHESTVIE V KITAY. My Russian is a little rusty, but I'm pretty sure that translates to VIY 2: IT'LL ONLY TAKE US 5 YEARS THIS TIME. Actually, the title translates to VIY 2: JOURNEY TO CHINA. I look forward to its eventual release in 2031.