Monday, 13 October 2014

Blood Glacier AKA The Station (2013)

Although you could view it as little more than a rip-off of The Thing, Blood Glacier (AKA Blutgletscher, Glazius, and The Station) is still well worth your time for two main reasons: the great practical effects and the intriguing subtext that becomes clearer and clearer as the film winds towards its climax.

Gerhard Liebmann plays Janek, a researcher based with a team out in the Swiss Alps, who discovers the glacier of the title. It looks like it has blood running down it, but that turns out to be a liquid responsible for affecting and changing anything it comes into contact with. Anything affected by the liquid then affects anything else it comes into contact with, and so on and so forth, leading to a ripple effect that could cause a major change to our entire ecosystem. And this is all figured out while Tanja (Janek's ex-partner, played by Edita Malovcic) is en route to the research station with some very important visitors accompanying her.

Written by Benjamin Hessler, and directed by Marvin Kren, Blood Glacier is a film happy to both wear its influences on its sleeve and also take some time to build up to an enjoyable third act. That's not to say that it's too slow for the first half of the film. On the contrary, a couple of the main characters are nicely sketched out in between moments of grue and/or tension that punctuate the proceedings. It's unfortunate that so many other people who appear onscreen aren't given the chance to make more of an impression, but at least the two nominal leads are interesting enough to want to stay beside.

Liebmann is fine in his role, portraying a character who has chosen to stay in such an isolated area due to some personal events in his past that he's never faced up to. He's an angry man, either drunk or hungover to hell in his first few scenes, but he's also the first to realise the seriousness of the situation and think about possible solutions without caring about any of the financial/political ramifications for the research centre. Malovcic comes into the movie a bit later, but starts to make a good impression from her very first scenes. Brigitte Kren, Felix Romer, Hille Beseler, and Peter Knack (and also a dog named Santos) are just some of the other cast members making up the group of unfortunate people stuck too close to the blood glacier. Most of the supporting players are quite interchangeable, with the notable exception of Kren, who also happens to be the mother of director Marvin. Whether he gave her the best role he could, or whether she just proved the best for the part, doesn't matter. What matters is that she's wonderful as a tough, older woman who starts trying to help set up some kind of defence, even while processing the whole situation.

It may not be the best horror movie you see all year, but Blood Glacier is neatly put together by a director who clearly loves the main influences that he's working with. And let's not underestimate the pleasure to be derived from watching some fun practical effects cause havoc onscreen.


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