Stirring the Melting Pot of Terror in Blood Glacier, A Movie Review

20 Jun

This film debuted theatrically June 19th as part of Cineplex Odeon’s Sinister Cinema series that spotlights the best in the Independent Horror scene. Fans who have missed this screening may find encore performances in select cities or locate it through VOD outlets like Amazon.

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Blood-Glacier-Poster Charles Darwin might not survive naming the horrors found in Blood Glacier (Blutgletscher), an Austrian film by writer Benjamin Hessler and director Marvin Kren. Together, they are known for films like Rammbock (2010) and Schautag (2009). If his last film is any indication, perhaps this filmmaker has a fondness for creating terrors formed by self-mutilating viruses. In the Alps, just what may lurk underneath the snow is definitely not the Abominable Snowman! Instead, as the title implies, there’s a glacier that is shrinking and revealing a red like algae that’s going to spell doom for the scientists studying the effects of climate change.

The theme of eco-horror is light in a tale that seemingly wants to borrow from Dennis Feldman’s Species and H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. Part of the dialogue certainly ventures into that realm with an interesting theory that leads back to the origins of hybridization. But instead of discovering a lost civilization, all these scientists find is a mysterious cave with a few dead animals. The familiarity keeps on coming, especially with certain tropes plaguing this film — isolation, man with dog, men going berserk, and monsters popping out of nowhere. That lends itself well to creating a predictable film to watch, but in terms of originality, it feels like a step down from past memorable works Kren and Hessler have made.

This movie falls into the B-camp category with some crazy one-liners shouted out in the midst of some beastly brutality. That’s strange when the film is serious in tone. It also tries to inject a Hitchcockian style of suspense that’s relatively mild in comparison. The scientists are trying to make a new discovery, but instead they find that maybe the Triassic age once carried a genome, empty blood corpuscles, that floated in the seas that could rewrite the history books  — especially theories on the origin of the species. After a hefty explanation by another scientist, what happens next is a parade of nightmares.

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From hybrid beetles to decomposing foxes and bat-like hawks, these mutant beasts suddenly attack the camp! The main star, Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) handles encountering these monsters like a pro and this actor is perhaps the only man for the job. On screen, he is a hard man to intimidate. When he’s seen walking around in the high altitudes in his underwear, maybe he is already unhinged. When he and a team-mate discover this mysterious substance, he’s the calmer of the two when they get closer to it.

When his pet dog, Tinnie, senses danger, even he does not seem unflinched. This film delves into some soft character development by showing how close Janek is with his pet moreso than with the people in the camp. But when he learns his ex-wife, Tanja (Edita Malovcic) is coming to visit the camp with some dignitaries, the type of feelings that surfaces hints at something else.

In what he learns from her and what she’s been up to lately since their divorce, he could go nuts. Spoilers need not be revealed here or for how this film ends, but just the implication is enough to suggest what’s next if there’s a sequel to this film. Just what could happen next can easily make Darwin cringe.

3 Stars out of 5

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