Blood Red Sky
With so many new releases from different OTT platforms this weekend, I decided to grab on a movie genre that suits well with the cold rainy night – horror thriller. I came across this Netflix release Blood Red Sky helmed by Peter Throwarth and co-written with Stefan Holtz. This German film is a horror, action, thriller genre with a promising premise and a gripping trailer. Being a horror, blood, and gore enthusiast I’m quite excited to see this. Will it be able to tick all the boxes of a spine-chilling horror? Read on to find out.
Story, Frames & Score
The movie starts with a hijacked plane requesting an emergency landing on a Royal Air Force base in Scotland. Descending the plane is a boy cuddling his teddy bear, while in the cockpit is an injured man suspected as one of the terrorists. Then, the story brings us back to the day of the flight through a flashback narrated by the boy Elias. The story follows a woman and her son flying from Germany to New York to treat her terminal illness, but the flight is interrupted by a group of terrorists who hijacked the plane. But that is not only the terror this movie promises to offer, what’s more, frightening is the dark secret the mother had been staving off for years. To save her son, she is willing to embrace her monstrous self and unleash hell.
Having watched many films about vampires, planes, or zombies, for me this is a mash-up of popular plots from those. If you add the “bad guys caught up with vampire” premise from From Dusk till Dawn, “we’re all gonna die in this tube” scene from Snakes in the Plane, and “father will sacrifice anything for his daughter” story of Train to Busan, you will get the storyline of Blood Red Sky. With these in mind, you will surely be expecting much of a thrill, but I have to warn you to watch this with zero expectation because it didn’t offer what it promised on the trailer.
The movie starts enthralling, however, the story becomes dragging because of the blurry narrative. Flashback within flashback makes the story lose its grip. At some point, the thrill is already established only to decrescendo because of too much backstory that could have been understood by the viewers even in short screen time. The twist and turn are loosely knit and the narrative keeps traveling back and forth through flashbacks. (Wait I already said that earlier, I think I use the same narrative style used in the movie).
Though the movie is a combination of three genres, I have to say that all these three are underdeveloped. On the other hand, what makes this good is the detailed heart-wrenching mother and child relationship. How the story presents the unfathomable love of mother even in her monstrous state will definitely stir your heart.
Characters & Performances
Aside from the mother and son, characters are one-dimensional and some are even cardboard characters. Dominic Purcell whom I’ve known in Blade: Trinity (2004) is underutilized as Berg, the leader of the hijackers. Farid (Kais Setti) though given longer screen time but didn’t give a proper character build-up. However, flamboyant Eightball (Alendander Scheer) is cinematic as a psychopath villain and had helped to keep the movie from falling apart. Carl Anton Kotch is fantastic in his characterization of Elias. He shows his character dynamics charismatically and makes the audience feel afraid, cry and rot for him. Peri Baumeister as Nadja is the best reason to give this movie a chance. Her internalization is compelling and her execution especially the action sequences and emotional scenes are praiseworthy. In the end, she was able to redeem the script’s shortcoming.
Screenplay & Direction
Music, Frame, & Direction The cinematography by Yoshi Heimrath is commendable. The dim-lit and tight shots at the cargo bay are thrilling not only because of the action choreography but the claustrophobic effect it gives out on that scene. CGI and VFX are also brilliantly integrated into the movie. The BGM scored by Dascha Dauenhauer adds intensity to the thrilling and emotional scenes. It maintains the dark tone of the film. The make-up department also does a terrific job of handling the transformation of Nadja and the rest of the vampires. The production design also deserves commendation for making the ramshackle plane a thrill in itself.
I like how this movie does not over-romanticize the vampire spree. The action sequences are few and controlled but well-executed. The familial love is detailed and will surely pull your heartstrings. The final act drags too long, if 10-15 minutes will be chopped from this 123-minute movie, it could have been a gripping one. Another thing, commentary on the prejudice for Muslims is half-baked as well as trying to pull capitalism as the undertone is ineffective and illogical.
Aside from the momentum-draining flashbacks and some narrative mismatch, Peter Throwarth helms a decent horror thriller film with a heart.
Though it did not tick all the boxes for the blood-curdling horror genre, it is a feast for cinephiles looking for some gore-spray. Blood Red Sky is a Netflix-released horror thriller that is gut-wrenching with the heart-rending story.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.