The Horror Honeys: The Ultimate in Glacial Terror!

The Ultimate in Glacial Terror!

A Sci-Fi Honey 2.0 Review

Blood Glacier (2013)

If you’re going to have a critic compare your film to a horror/sci-fi classic like John Carpenter’s The Thing and then you are bold enough to slap that blurb on the poster for your movie, you have some Eier (look it up).  What, after all, could come close to a film so revered that it’s been elevated to pure genre perfection, with a gripping story, thrilling action, top-notch acting and state-of-the-art special effects?

Austria’s Blood Glacier (Blutgletscher) sure does attempt to reign in that comparison, as the film opens with – get this – a dog, a guy with a beard, and a frigid landscape.  BOOM!  This thing has Carpenter’s Thing written all over it.  Sadly, apart from a few more humdrum plot contrivances, that’s where the comparisons end.  Our beardy “hero” is a drunk who is arguably given far too much responsibility at a research facility in the Austrian Alps, where scientists researching the effects of climate change discover the titular glacier and some hybrid creatures mutated by the liquid in the melting glacier.  See what happens when we don’t limit our greenhouse gases?!

But nevermind all that! Where's my Heineken?
The crew of four at the research lab who at first think they are just dealing with a rabid fox (oh, how very wrong they are), are also apprehensive because the discovery of this scientific breakthrough and/or horror-inducing biological agent seeping out of the glacier coincides with the arrival of a new team of six, including Beardy’s ex-girlfriend.  Thus begins the human-drama element of the story, which threatens to drag down the action a bit.  How many times can you depict characters fighting over what course of action to take, and making stupid decisions, like not immediately murdering whatever is clearly infected?  There is no real suspense here, so we simply wait and see who will be the next victim of the mutants lurking in this wintry desolation.  And that’s ok… this doesn’t have to be The Thing.  This is Blood Glacier.

And what a bloody great glacier it is.
A big reason I was excited to see this film, in fact, is the awesome title of Blood Glacier, which promises some element of B-movie schlock – and it is in this respect the film is at its most inventive and exciting.  Otherwise known as The Station, a fine but generic title for a film that could have focused more on the “global warming” message of the story, the title of Blood Glacier conveys much more aptly what we came for.  This is a creature feature, after all, and the creatures are the real stars here.  As the glacier liquid mutates one species into a hybrid with another, we are treated to some wicked combinations: a mountain goat mixed with a bird, some kind of beetle-fox beast; you name it, they’ve spliced it.  The creature effects seem to combine some elements of practical puppetry with CGI, and edited with rapid cuts during each attack, the effect is satisfyingly both fun and gory.

There's even a facehugger thrown in for good measure.
The version of Blood Glacier now available via VOD (Amazon and iTunes, among others) is unfortunately dubbed in English, instead of allowing the audience to hear the actors speaking German in their natural voices and reading subtitles.  Not only is it dubbed, which I normally try to avoid at all costs, but this film had some of the worst dubbing I’ve ever seen; the English voice “actors” never striving to emote or articulate above the spoken equivalent of reading the ingredients on a cereal box.  It is hard to concentrate on the intrinsic worth of the film’s script and the abilities of the actors when a character is relegated to shouting with the vocal affect of Daria Morgendorffer (though it should be noted, one line in this film, “stop eating that banana while you’re crying!”, is my favorite line of the year).  Whatever B-monster movie merits Blood Glacier has, they are greatly diminished by this distracting detail.  If you can overlook it, you might get some enjoyment out of this film with minimal unintentional groans or laughter.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: zero drops of icy blood for the dubbiness, but three out of five otherwise.  Find it subtitled however you can.