Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Blood Glacier DVD Review



Panning around the German alpines sets the scene of instant isolation but it’s devastatingly beautiful and extremely effective. Blood Glacier has drawn many a comparison with the 1980 classic John Carpenter’s The Thing and they’re not entirely there simply because of the setting and the creatures that will feature. Marvin Kren definitely has the talent to draw out suspense, to make it supremely gory and to give that isolation a feel that audiences can connect with – much like John Carpenter does in his classic. Although it may not be as strong or as effective as John Carpenter’s film, there are some amazing touches to this film but it unfortunately falls at the budget hurdle, stopping it from being as effective as it could be, as horrifying as it could be and as great it could be.

Stretching far away from civilisation has its price unfortunately when a glacier turns blood red because of a micro-organism that mutates animals that digest it. From then on, the most bewildering of Darwinian nightmares are created through genetic hybridisation. Skin crawling hybrids happen that gross out the audience whenever you see them in their full, disgusting glory. It does a lot for a film that really has to hint and tell more than it can actually show effectively but if it had a budget that it really deserved then it could have created some of the most violent animatronics for the past couple of decades. The creations are fantastically conceived, refreshing the creature feature that audiences have come to known. It splices things together much better than films like Splice.

In reverting back to the classic horror films, it creates characters again which are likeable and that draw you in to the material. Drawing on these characters gives the audience empathy and sympathy, leaving the filmmakers the ability to draw out tension and suspense, teasing the audience with the risks. Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) may be a drunk at first but him and his relationship with Tinni (Santos the dog) is brilliantly conceived and not all pandering or a possible cheap sympathy card. It doesn’t use it in an easy, exploitive manner. Then there’s his relationship with Tanja (Edita Malovcic)adding another subplot and dimension to both characters. Instead of the 3D spectacle that’s come to horror films like Texas Chainsaw 3D, it has decided to add that extra dimension to the people and it’s much more rewarding because of it.

Marvin Kren and writer Benjamin Hessler have created a horror film that is both retro and refreshing to the recent cheap attempts of some other exploitive indies that plague the Netflix horror section. Restrained by its budget it would be great to see this script get the money it deserved to really be as gory and effective as it could have been. There are still great horrifying moments – one especially that comes as a shock at the beginning of the third act is brilliantly disgusting – but it suffers from the disconnection caused by the disappointing special effects. It is a good horror film but it could have been a great horror film and it’s a shame to see something as trivial as money stop it.

★★