Sorgoi Prakov (also known as Descent into Darkness, My European Nightmare) is a 2013 French found-footage horror film written and directed by Rafaël Cherkaski, with additional writing from Quentin Boeton and Simon-Pierre Boireau. While this was the first writing and directing credit for Rafaël, he later went on to write and direct a segment for the horror anthology Quarantaines (2021). Whereas, Boeton went on to become better known as a TV writer and director and Boireau as a TV actor, after their work on the film.

Outside of feature-length productions, Cherkaski is an internationally touring expressionist and perversionist working in multiple different mediums including live performance, oil paints, and music with the group Sdovia Desko. Sdovia Desko gained notoriety in the underground scene, playing in a number of small, sold-out venues. The band’s first album, EP 01: BoomBoom Clandestin Mixtape, sold out its entire 2000 copies shortly after release cementing the band’s cult status. The band continues to perform live to this day.


Sorgoi Prakov centers around an Eastern European journalist from “Sdorvia,” who arrives in Paris on an assignment to produce a documentary exploring the capital cities of several European countries. However, what starts as the search for the European dream soon descends into a blood-soaked nightmare after several unfortunate events (plus copious amounts of illicit substances) cause the rambunctious reporter to sink into a hellish landscape of insanity and violence.

Beginning at an unhurried pace, the film takes ample time building its fairly simple premise of a single character wandering the streets of a foreign country with a pocket full of dreams and some vague direction from his off-screen producers. As such, a story is fully supported by a single main protagonist who could have consequently become overworked and plateau in a short time. The energy and charisma of one actor are not only the subject of the film, but its only driving force, putting untold strain on the production and those involved behind the scenes.


However, due to the enigmatic performance from Cherkaski, the entire film is unconditionally captivating from start to finish. From the gradual spiral of a naive tourist into the profoundly insane rambling of a man pushed over the edge to the visual debauchery of the film’s last 10 minutes, his indefatigable performance is perfectly paced throughout. Imbuing an alluring mix of innocence, self-destructive tendencies, and indescribable sadism that is difficult to look away from, being desperately drawn in by the thought of what could happen next.

Moreover, Sorgoi Prakov’s faux-documentary/found footage premise undeniably works. Interactions between Sorgoi and members of the public have an indisputable realism to them, and it becomes difficult to discern if a scene is semi-scripted or a refusal by Cherkaski to break character, mixed in with the chaotic nature of society which unintentionally provides a means to create completely organic, improvised material. Add to that the combination of beautifully framed, piece-to-camera shots that soon diverge into amateur levels of indistinguishable shaky cam, which further illustrate an authentic—albeit uncomfortable—validity.


An incredibly savage piece of cinema, Sorgio Prakov effortlessly implements the best elements of this style of film, along with a phenomenally extreme nature, to manufacture an astoundingly brutal depiction of naturalism. It successfully creates a sympathetic connection between the audience and this charmingly credulous character, then unexpectedly forces this empathy to extend past the point of no return, gaslighting the audience into an unsettling reflection on their own moral identity as well as their ability to distinguish the same in others. The incredible performance from Cherkaski throughout the entirety of the film is, undoubtedly, the glue that holds this production together, delivering a natural progression into an unfathomable depth of insanity.

Sorgoi Prakov is available to purchase on Blu-ray, signed by director Rafaël Cherkaski at the film’s Facebook Page Here

Grimoire of Horror would like to thank director Rafaël Cherkaski for providing us with a review copy in exchange for an honest review

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