Review: Blood Glacier / Cert: 15 / Director: Marvin Kren / Screenplay: Benjamin Hessler / Starring: Gerhard Liebmann, Brigitte Kren, Edita Malovcic / Release Date: Out Now
Though stylistically an homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing, tonally director Marvin Kren's new ecological monster movie channels the flagrant anxiety of Frank Darabont’s The Mist and the unmitigated dread of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Set in the beautiful desolation of the German Alps, Glacier concerns a mostly-drunk technician named Janek, who works in a remote mountain lab along with a team of environmental scientists studying the decay of the Alpines. When the team stumble upon a glacier seeping blood and mutating the local wildlife, their decision to hide the truth from a visiting government minister jeopardises the safety of the entire world.
The movie shows a decidedly '80s mindset at work – relying more on practical effects (read: puppets and latex suits) and a simple narrative than an abundance of CGI and gimmicky filmmaking. Perhaps that is why the road to release has been anything but simple for the glacier jaunt, with a rash of name changes for the world-wide DVD (The Station, Glazius, and the original Blutgletscher). Yet it went on to become the dark horse of the Toronto International Film Festival last September, receiving a standing ovation from the horror fanatics in attendance.
And whilst it certainly is not without fault, Glacier looks absolutely beautiful. Kren utilises the Alps perfectly, juxtaposing their crystal beauty and total brutality – injecting each scene with suspense and tension. The characters themselves are, on the whole, a rather unlikeable lot, and although audiences will be drawn to Gerhard Liebmann’s extraordinary performance as Janek, the film asks – who are the real monsters here?
As for the creatures, the film employs a less-is-more approach. Nonetheless, the payoff is definitely in the grime and gore of the thrilling third act. That, coupled with a love-it/hate-it ending, has resulted in a production that will surely divide viewers; those looking for new ways to be scared will leave unsatisfied, whereas old-school fans of the genre will revel in this ode to a simpler era.
Extras: Stills gallery / Trailer