Movie Review: “Blood Glacier” So Badly Wants To Be “The Thing” But Fails


Review by James McDonald

Scientists working in the Austrian Alps discover that a glacier is leaking a red liquid that appears to be affecting local wildlife.

For any filmmaker who dares to make a movie that includes a): a snowy, remote setting and b): a multitude of monsters, will, undoubtedly, be compared to John Carpenter’s 1982 claustrophobic classic, “The Thing”. Even the prequel that came out in 2011, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was compared, unfavorably, to its predecessor. With “Blood Glacier”, the similarities are right there in front of our very eyes and director Marvin Kren makes no apologies for them. Instead, he gets right down to business and tells this story his way. We have a small group of scientists on the Austrian Alps who discover one of the large glaciers nearby, is oozing a red liquid which appears to be affecting the local wildlife. They don’t realize this at first but when one of the scientist’s dogs is bitten, initially they don’t think anything of it but gradually, the affected area on the dog worsens and soon thereafter, they realize that something is wrong. After inspecting a creature that attacked one of them, they come to the conclusion that whatever the organism is, it can replicate whatever it comes into contact with.

At the same time, a Minister from the government is making a trip to the research station where the scientists are situated. They are hoping they’ll be able to talk her into additional funding for their research but on her hike up the mountain, one of the climbing crew is attacked and killed by a large winged insect. They eventually make it to the station where the scientists explain their discovery of the blood glacier and their conclusion about the organism within it and they quickly devise a plan for getting out of the valley. The one argument I hear a lot of these days, is the battle between CGI and animatronics and which style is better. It’s not a matter of which one is better, both methods have existed independently of each other for a long time but when blended effectively, like in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, the effects themselves become seamless. When “The Thing” prequel was released in 2011, it got terrible reviews and the die-hard fans of Carpenter’s classic said it failed because it used an overabundance of CGI when it should have used real mechanical effects. Well here’s your chance to watch it without CGI and all I can say is, the animatronics used here are cheesy and not in the least bit realistic.

The story is by-the-numbers and for a monster movie, I can go along with that, as long as I can walk away from the movie with some memorable moments. Unfortunately, “Blood Glacier” fails to invoke any real sense of terror and that’s partly because of the inferior monster effects. Why would we be afraid of a seemingly automated creature that looks like it came straight out of a 1980’s B-movie? I so badly wanted to like “Blood Glacier” and while there is some truly exceptional cinematography by Moritz Schultheiß, sadly, there is not much else to recommend it.

In theaters and VOD May 2nd


James McDonald
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