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Stanley Film Fest Review: Blood Glacier is a Great Creature Feature

Blood Glacierfile_176723_0_shock-score-8.90x72Cross-pollinate John Carpenter's The Thing with John Frankenheimer's Prophecy and you get the ambitious, better-than-I-ever-expected German eco-horror/nature-run-amok film Blood Glacier.

The set-up is prime fodder for a SyFy original movie, but it transcends all of that nonsense with deft direction, good performances, a focused tone and a menagerie of beasties. Blood Glacier commits to its ideas and never wavers. If you're smiling through some of the madness that occurs, it's not because it's silly. It's because the movie is just crazy enough to work.

Where other eco-horror films find mother nature lashing out against individuals for their crimes against the Earth – like the aforementioned Prophecy, the developers of Wolfen or the couple of 1978's Long Weekend – Blood Glacier takes a broader approach. The protagonists here – scientists at work in the Austrian Alps – are not being punished for any particular sins they have committed; they are simply on the front lines of something that will have a global effect. They're not the only ones fucked. We're all fucked. And we can blame climate change, moreover ourselves, for that. In, I suppose, a Lovecraftian way, Blood Glacier takes a "creeping dread"-esque stance. The unknown is coming, it's inevitable and you cannot prevent it.

But don't get me wrong. Blood Glacier isn't a preachy diatribe. It's a creature feature at heart, it's just smart enough to know that it has to come from a real place for its audience to care (unlike the silly SyFy fare filled with angry critters). And here, Blood Glacier's "ground zero" is the eponymous block of ice that has been mysteriously dyed by a crimson organic substance. Local wildlife who ingest this ice – or, local wildlife who eat other wildlife that have feasted on the ice – transform into terrifying hybrid monstrosities. These monstrosities, in turn, attack our scientist protagonists – lead by Janek (this film's "MacReady") – and all hell breaks loose.

Blood Glacier doesn't waste any time and I respect that. Within the opening moments, Janek is discovering the glacier things just take off at a speedy pace from there. The characters are developed enough for us to care about them and their dynamic is rather wonderful when the film's events take a more contained, seige-like approach. The special FX are a spotty blend of CGI and practical, but they're hardly offensive.

The film played to Stanley Film Festival audiences, but you won't have to wait long to see it. Blood Glacier hits VOD and select theaters on May 2nd and you'd do well to check out this worthy discovery.

  • J Jett

    THE THING and PROPHECY are two of my favorite films. needless to say i’m very excited for BLOOD GLACIER!! Ryan your review just got me more excited for the film! :)

  • orangutanklaus

    could u just correct it to “austrian” not “german” … im just very proud that austria finally made a great horror movie!

  • Gary

    It was ok, really nothing to write home about. It was a tad above the usual SyFy garbage, but, that’s still not saying much. give it a 4/10. Found it quite boring.

  • Gabbi Cordero

    is this only available of vod or is going to get a limited release?

  • Gabbi Cordero

    Ryan, you’re saying all the right things in this review. I am a big fan of creature features and SyFy channel camp is the low bar i measure these films by. If I avoid a monster movie it’s because it falls into “that” category. When I first saw the trailer, admittedly the title of the film left me unimpressed, but that scene where an infected mosquito stings a man was enought to pique my interest as my anticipation grew, wondering what other neat little tricks this flick had up its sleeve and what other twists would follow. The fact that this offering “transcends all of that nonsense” and has a “menagerie of beasties” validates my optimism. I’m glad to hear that the role call is for scientists and not militia or teens backpacking in the mountains. The fact that the troupe is led by a “macready” looks to give this film credibility. Points for a seemingly well-paced tempo and sympathetic characters that according to this review appear to have chemsitry together. Looking forward to this one.

  • Steve Fletcherson

    This was the one release this month that I was really looking forward to, but when I found out the only version available was a dubbed one and a bad dub at that. Give me a subbed ver with original audio track.