Blood Glacier (2013) Review

Blood GlacierA group of scientists stationed in the Austrian Alps make the discovery of a crimson glacier.  It, like all surrounding glaciers, are melting thanks to climate change.  It’s not blood in the glacier, however, but an organic matter that incubates in the host’s stomach, mixing DNA of the host and any animal it may have eaten.  So a fox that has eaten a wood louse and a beetle will have a creature burst from its stomach that will be a mutation of all three animals, and it will be hostile.  This is precisely what the scientists discover when our lead, loud mouthed Janek, follows his dog into a dark cavern beneath the blood glacier.  While the scientists try to process their discovery, more and more creatures begin making their presence known.  Throw in a government minister with an entourage en route, including Janek’s ex, to make a publicity appearance at the outpost and you have a multitude of characters that must band together if they want to survive.

Much of the story’s focus is on Janek and his ex, Tanja.  It’s made clear that they parted under sudden and mysterious circumstances years prior, and her sudden reappearance has thrown him into emotional turmoil.  It’s this plot thread that is meant to anchor the audience emotionally to the story, but it ends up feeling contrived.  In a later scene, Tanja picks a strange moment to make a solemn confession to Janek about the end of their relationship, but never offers to explain the reason behind her decision.  It’s this forced relationship that makes the film feel much longer than it actually is.

Minister Bodicek should have been the focus.  Her introduction gives the false impression that she’s a high maintenance, fragile politician that needs her every whim catered to.  She proves to be the toughest one of the bunch while retaining the most compassion for her fellow survivors.

Likely to budget, the creatures don’t seem to attack often or with any sense of urgency.  It’s rare to even get a good look at the creatures.  I didn’t realize that the climax had come and gone until the music queued up to signal the film’s end.  It’s not the budget that’s the issue, but that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be.  Torn between B movie creature feature and ominous eco horror, the film unsuccessfully attempts both.  There are tragic moments in the film, and it doesn’t mesh with the gory camp moments.  Choosing just one would have made Blood Glacier far less tonally confusing and much more enjoyable.

 

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