Netflix has no shortage of unusual titles that appear in their most-watched content, from older comedies to seemingly forgotten-about movies. One entry that’s been dominating the streaming platform all through July is especially notable, in that it’s a comic book story with reasonably low international recognition. Major Grom: Plague Doctor is a Russian-made picture adapted from a series of the same name, and is currently in the top five list of features on Netflix’s worldwide charts.
Directed by Oleg Trofim, Major Grom is apparently the first feature-length adaptation of a Russian comic, and stars Tikhon Zhiznevsky as the lead character, a police major pursuing a vigilante killer that dons a plague mask for his crimes. Over the course of the plot, Grom has to try and figure out the Plague Doctor’s next moves to prevent further murders. An action short had previously been put out in 2017 by producer Bubble Studios as a test run for Plague Doctor, and proved there was a decent appetite for expanding the concept to a full film.
After several years of delays, Major Grom: Plague Doctor arrived in Russian theaters in March 2021, and has received a mixed reception from critics. Despite a relatively poor box office performance, Grom has been a hit on Russian Netflix since May, and is available internationally on the service. Indeed, the release has done well across different territories outside of Russia in July, particularly in Europe, albeit with only a brief appearance in the US top ten list.
Whether or not Major Grom: Plague Doctor is worth checking out is another question, although it’s most likely intriguing to watch it without really knowing anything about the source material. As Netflix becomes a useful place for genre productions that my have otherwise disappeared into anonymity, or are given a new lease on life by exposure to subscribers, it’s possible that Major Grom could make a positive enough impression to justify a sequel.