Whenever it rains, a young man becomes plagued by horrible nightmares while he sleeps. Though what is believed to be nothing more than a dream, becomes a reality as the storm brings in much more than restless sleep. As the creatures that fill his nightmares are able to tear apart the wall that separates the dreams from reality, and the monsters invade the world and destroy those they seek.
Between "Nails", "Visions of Suffering", and "Philosophy of a Knife" (once again, I can't compare "The Tourist" since I haven't seen it yet.), "VoS" is probably the closest thing you'll get to getting a straightforward horror movie from Andrey. Now I would say all of his movies qualify as horror regardless, because of the amount of visuals and themes that play off macabre-like ideas. While "VoS" maybe the closest thing he has to a standard horror movie, it is also feels like it's his most open ended one.
There is a general plotline to the movie that involves a young man who suffers horrible nightmares when the rain comes, even when he's awake, to him, it feels like he's still in the nightmare. A feeling that becomes more real after receiving advice from an unlikely source that informs him that there are creatures out there that he calls "vampires".(He calls them that since he doesn't know what they are, but it seems to be the best label for them.) That come out in the rain, and they wait and prey on those who sleep or who are caught out in the storm. There is also a sub-plot that features a priest who is caught in the same nightmare as the young man with the same creatures. Except his obsession over a young female raver, leads him to venture out the storm to find her, instead of keeping himself locked up in his place like the young man. The stories intertwine as the movie progress from the connection between characters, and the ever growing nightmare that is engulfing the whole city, along with the creatures who've escaped from the nightmare world and have entired this one.
While there is an actual story to the movie, "VoS" is much more than what you get from the plotline, and it isn't until it's over and you've taken a step back to look at it, will you be able to see the big picture. The movie's theme plays on the various beliefs and theories of nightmares and how they can effect the world that we live in. It isn't merely about these groups of characters that have to deal with monsters during a rainstorm; Andrey brings us into this world, has us become apart of the nightmare. What we see is the equivalent of watching an actual nightmare and while the story helps move the movie along and keeps it somewhat grounded to reality. It's the feeling that we are sharing the same experiences as the characters that becomes the real draw to the movie; we are watching and experiencing the manifestation of a nightmare. That is what "Visions of Suffering" is about and makes it work really well.
Andrey's own unique style and ability to merge different styles of special effects, is what gives "VoS" life and is able to pull off the movie's nightmarish feeling. Watching the movie, I couldn't help but be reminded of different visual styles; at times it felt like I was watching a cyberpunk film, other times it was like an old LSD-psychedelic acid trip, and the others it was more in tune with Andrey's style of experimental-surrealism. But he manages to make all these styles work as one, to create the nightmare illusion. Combining that with the horror-based story of these horrible-ugly creatures who are disposing of people of people in gruesome ways, and the drug-sex filled world of a rave, "Visions of Suffering" becomes a visual-assault. Granted, there are times, much like "Nails", where some of the effects aren't as good as others, and in "VoS", there are times when scenes go on for to long. Though, once again, what is good about the movie out weighs the bad. I just can't help but feel the movie would have been tighter and even more of a pleasurable viewing experience had some scenes been cut down or removed entirely. All in all though, it's another Andrey film I recommend because it is something that you have never seen before. He's ability to make it seem like you're not only watching a nightmare, but make you feel like you're apart of it. That makes it something special and something worth seeing.