Perusing Netflix’s poverty-level offerings, I happened upon the Austrian flick, Blood Glacier. We had crossed paths several times in the past; every time I saw the title I imagined a film about a killer glacier playing “Sink the Titanic” with people standing in for the ship. Of course, it’s not about that. But that would make a far better movie.
A group of scientists at the Climate Research Base Glazius are studying – you guessed it – climate change and its effects on the Austrian Alps. Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) is doing a Kurt-Russell-as-MacReady, complete with booze and beard. While checking on a transmission station with Falk (Peter Knaack), Janek discovers a strange red substance leaking out of the glacier. Is this the result of climate change’s effects on Kool-Aid Man? Nope: it’s a bunch of single-celled organisms that get inside other organisms and create hybrids. Cue the mutated animals and nature-run-amok! Janek will have to summon Kurt Russell-like strength and do battle with these hideous monstrosities! And, hopefully, save his ex-girlfriend and dog in the process.
Blood Glacier is truly a missed opportunity. It should have been either a Lovecraftian tale filled with dread and atmosphere, and dealing with things beyond human comprehension; or an over-the-top B-movie filled with blood and guts and ham and cheese. However, it takes neither of these routes, opting instead to play it as a straight and serious nature-run-amok film. As a result, Blood Glacier suffers. Instead of being fun, or spine-tingling and chilling, or all three, the flick is pretty ho-hum and unexciting. The longer the film went on, the more I found myself distracted by far more interesting things – like my lawn – and checking the remaining runtime. A good chunk of the film is spent with the characters as they argue and converse about dubious science. (Hey, if I wanted to watch people argue, I’d hang out with my family.)
Yes, there is monster action, but none of it is very exciting. In fact, I found a good deal of it just tired and apathetic. You could almost feel director Marvin Kren and his crew going through the motions: “Okay, this attacks. Okay, that tries to get in. Okay, this happens to that. Okay, cut, next scene.” They should have just called this flick Bored Glacier.
I do have to give kudos for the effects, however. While CGI is used here and there, most of the hybrids are the result of practical effects. Some are actually pretty cool, like the fox-beetle hybrid or the goat-beetle-whatever hybrid. However, these excellent creatures make the films deficiencies painfully more obvious. Yes, the idea of killer hybrids is pretty cool (they also posit that mythological creatures were biological hybrids). But instead of drawing out the premise’s full potential, the filmmakers are simply content doing the characters-trapped-in-an-isolated-locale bit and leaving it at that. A shame.
I will say that the ending is deliciously twisted (and had they used that premise, it would have made a better movie). However, like the effects, it only serves to make the film’s deficiencies more glaring.
While Blood Glacier isn’t a horrible movie (i.e. it didn’t piss me off), it is a very disappointing one. The premise promises much more than it delivers. The result: disappointed viewers and yet another reason that Netflix needs to get its act together and dish out some decent horror offerings. But at least Netflix offers you the chance to watch the dubbed version of the flick – you know, for those of you who don’t wanna read. Simple pleasures I guess.