My review of “Blood Glacier” (2013), with general spoilers

[The following review contains general spoilers.]

I want to love “Blutgletscher” (“Blood Glacier”), an earnestly made independent German science fiction-horror film from 2013.  I just can’t ignore its flaws, however, and I’ve got to settle on a giving it a 6 out of 10.

It has so much going for it.  There’s a freezing, arctic-like location.  (This time out, we’re in the mountains of Austria.)  There’s a nifty, nasty sci-fi plot device.  There’s a variety of gooey monsters.  It’s creepy and atmospheric — a group of protagonists huddle in an isolated location while the wind howls outside on a cold night.  There’s a cunning everyman antihero.  All of these are rendered by a reasonably intelligent script that lets “Blood Glacier” rise above the level of a horror-comedy.

But its flaws make me hesitate to recommend it.  It’s poorly paced, for example, and it’s sometimes confusingly plotted.  One person assailed by the creepy-crawlies emerges as kind of villain, but the character’s motivations are never clear.  Also, why is another character consistently a idiot?  Is he just a really dumb scientist?  And the ending shows otherwise intelligent people doing something incredibly ill advised.

And I was puzzled by the special effects.  At times, they were actually damn good!  But at many points in the movie (as so many other reviews will point out) they were downright poor.  I kept thinking that they looked like papier mache props in a high school play.

Additionally, (and this can’t be the fault of the filmmakers) the version of “Blood Glacier” that I watched had incredibly poor English-language dubbing.  The actors on screen (especially Gerhard Liebmann and Briggite Kren) did a fine job, but their corresponding voice actors had … no talent or enthusiasm at all.

Look, I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler if I tell you that this movie strongly parallels John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982).  Any horror fan worth his or her salt should suspect as much if they read the preceding paragraphs.  Our MacReady-like antihero drinks heavily and … he even looks like MacReady!  And a dog and a helicopter are actually minor plot devices.

But I liked this movie’s thoughtful story device too much to call this film “a rip-off;” I rather think of it as a fairly skilled homage.

Honestly?  If you’re fan of “The Thing,” you might enjoy this as an interesting companion film.  As another online reviewer bluntly forgave it, “It isn’t TOTAL crap.”

If you hunt it down, its alternate title is “The Station.”


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