Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
(German with English subtitles)
Directed by: Marvin Kren
Written by: Benjamin Hessler
Starring: Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic & Brigitte Kren
Made with good intentions, but lacking a good script and serviceable budget, BLOOD GLACIER (formerly titled THE STATION) tries to pay ultimate homage John Carpenter’s THE THING. There’s also an environmental message at work too in that global warming has thawed out bacteria that causes mutations in any animal they land on. Needless to say that a frozen wasteland populated with wildlife spells trouble for a group of scientists at an isolated research station. When THE STATION was announced to be part of an incredible looking Midnight Madness lineup at last year’s TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), it sounded pretty kick-ass. A monster movie with a neat premise and smart ideas behind it? I wanted to see it, then the inane new title of BLOOD GLACIER was placed on it. That name just reeks of a cheesy B-flick you might catch on the Syfy Channel. Having finally watched BLOOD GLACIER, I can safely say that this silly title fits this rather dumb movie like a glove.
I usually place a brief summary of the movie that might get a reader intrigued in the second paragraph of my reviews, but I kind of already gave what little plot there is to give in two sentences at the beginning of this review. Bacteria mutates animals. They turn into monsters. Monsters attack people. One of the many things that keeps BLOOD GLACIER from reaching a fragment of the likes of John Carpenter’s THE THING is that these people aren’t worth rooting for or caring about. There are a few decent deaths that are pulled off with practical effects. In fact, most of the movie relies on purely handmade effects as showcased in the puppets used for these mutated animals. These monsters vary in execution. Smaller, more insect-like creations look good enough, but larger puppets of something like a hawk-freak or deer-beast look unconvincing to say the least.
The tiny budget of BLOOD GLACIER is apparent in shaky production values (sometimes literally in the camera work). For a movie that’s opening up a whole lot of possibilities in different mutations of animals attacking people, everything feels very confined. There are a couple of long shots of the snowy landscape, but for the most part the camera sticks indoors or on a small patch of land. A lot of time is spent in building up to each monster attack and none of it is dedicated to fleshing out any of these one-dimensional characters. The dog is the best actor here. Seriously though, he’s adorable and I want to cuddle with him. This hound outshines every single performer and puppet onscreen. Actual encounters with the beasts themselves are a mere handful. These scenes mainly consist of a few shots of a puppet shaking back and forth with the occasional actress screaming while lights flicker all over the set for no apparent reason.
Overall, BLOOD GLACIER is not the 1982 horror success that it so desperately tries to pay homage to. The characters are dumb. The script is stupid. The effects are lame. Also the ending throws the biggest WTF moment in this film (of which there are plenty) at the viewer and expects them to swallow it up. The film is well-shot in certain scenes and there are pieces of creativity that only hint at how cool this may have been if it were given a better script and a sufficient budget. If you want a modern creature feature that hits with an environmental message about how easily mother nature could kill us in a heartbeat, then watch 2012’s impressive THE BAY (one of the best found footage flicks in recent memory). If you want to see a solid homage to John Carpenter’s THE THING, then you’re better of just watching THE THING again. Sadly, BLOOD GLACIER is not worth your time.