Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette #21 – Blood Glacier (2013)

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Title: Blood Glacier

Year: 2013

Director: Marvin Kren

Starring: Gerhard Liebman, Edita Malovic, Brigitte Kren, Hille Bessler, Peter Knaack

Netflix Percentage that I’ll like it: 57% I’ll like it.

Seen it before: No

First Impressions: Back when Harbinger Down was my monthly Netflix Roulette someone told me I should watch Blood Glacier because it too was reminiscent of The Thing (The Carpenter version) and made a better prequel to The Thing than the actual prequel to The Thing (which I think everyone can agree was terrible). Which sounds pretty promising. So I may like it more than Netflix thinks I will. I have been promised monsters in the movie blurb and there better be monsters.

The Verdict: In the same way that Harbinger Down was a better The Thing prequel than the The Thing prequel, Blood Glacier is a better Prometheus than Prometheus was. The mutations have an explanation (not just monster making soup) and the scientists aren’t all dumb as doorknobs. Also, no one is going around touching alien penis-snakes. Also, there are no penis-snakes. Though I will say that the characters in Blood Glacier are as unlikable, if not more so than Prometheus.

A small group of climate scientists are studying the melting glaciers in the Alps. They are accompanied by drunk and irascible technician Janek (Liebman). When the glacier they’re studying starts “bleeding” the scientists are stunned. Not as stunned as Janek though, who discovers a mutant fox-beetle thing rooting through their garbage. Turns out the “blood” coming from the glacier is actually a single celled organism that recombines the DNA of anything it comes into contact with after being consumed. The three scientists demand Janek keep his mouth shut about their astounding discovery. Especially when they find out a government minister Bodicek (Kren) is on her way to see how their research is going. With a VIP and Janek’s ex-girlfriend, on their way, the mountain mutants chooses now to unleash hell. They find themselves trapped by all sorts of cheapish looking mutant animals, including a mutant bird that looks like it could have come right out of Birdemic.

Blood Glacier, despite cheap mutant monsters is a heck of a lot of fun. The Minister is the most badass bureaucrat in the history of cinema. The movie is worth it for the scene in which she takes she a giant drill to a mutant ibex, alone. There’s also a nameless female victim of the mutant bird who spends the entire film passed out then dies in a fire. Yes, a fire. Along with the mutant monsters, there is a good amount practical gore effects including blood spurting boils and a very nice impalement.

If you haven’t seen Blood Glacier yet, then go check it out. Especially if you like cheesy monster flicks with an ecological message (Thaw anyone?). If you have seen it, I only hope you had as much fun as I did. The only warning I would issue is for dog fans. Yes there is a dog. And no, he doesn’t survive.

Rating: 7/10

Blood Glacier (aka The Station) (2013) DVD Review

GLACIER 001BLOOD GLACIER aka THE STATION (2013) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Brigitte Kren, Hille Beseler, Peter Knaack

Written by: Benjamin Hessler

UK Certification: 15

UK RRP: £12.99

UK DVD Region: 2

Runtime: 93 minutes

Directed by: Marvin Kren

UK Release Date: 27th January 2014

German Language with English Subtitles

I must admit I’m a sucker for films based in an isolated environment. The confinement, the psychological fragility it imposes and the adverse conditions all tend to add to the atmosphere of the movie. From the original Thing from Another World (1951), to Carpenter’s remake (1982) to Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter (2006). In Blood Glacier we find ourselves in the German Alps with four technicians and scientists (and a dog) in a research station. We’re told at the start that in 2013 the last sceptics fall silent and that climate disaster is worse than imagined. Antarctica’s ice will be gone within a decade, alpine glaciers will disappear and although the consequences are unclear the idea that life will change forever is certain.

GLACIER 002Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) is the most grizzled of the people at the station. Normally people volunteer to attend the facility in year-long secondments, but Janek is on his fourth stretch. On an exploratory walk to discover why an outlying station is no longer sending a signal, Janek along with a scientist stumble across a mysterious organism which due to the receding ice is now exposed. Baffled at what it is, how it originated and most importantly why it is there, a mood of concerned trepidation washes over the camp.

When late one night a mutated fox complete with mandibles is spotted by Janek he raises the alarm to the others. As he’s the only witness to this gross creature and with him favouring a drop of a little something to ease him to sleep, the scientists are initially very dismissive of his story. With an impending visit from the Health Minister (Brigitte Kren) to think about they figure that they have more important things to concern themselves with. However the discovery the next day of a mutated insect leads the team to retract their cynicism about Janek’s observation, whilst the realisation of what’s actually occurring begins to dawn on everybody.

It’s easy to offer comparisons (as the cover sleeve does) to The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13 in describing Blood Glacier, but I think that’s largely unfair as this film is good enough to stand on its own merits. Underlining its ecological aspects early on gives it a credible narrative, but more important than that is its casting of weathered European actors which distances it from the age obsessed Hollywood botox factory into something far more conceivable.

GLACIER 003The use of largely practical effects is as always a bold decision that works admirably, whilst the setting of this Austrian funded film is enhanced by director Marvin Kren getting the most out of the lush mountainous settings and drool inducing vistas. In a market where the term ‘creature feature’ is something that has been cheapened to the point of mockery with endless CGI infused Mega Shark vs Mutated Sea Bass style film, Blood Glacier grabs the sub-genre by the balls and gives us something very memorable indeed.

7.5 out of 10