Alpine-set chiller, Blood Glacier (also known as The Station) was always going to be compared to John Carpenter’s The Thing. It’s a paranoia-filled horror about a group of scientists in a remote, snowy outpost who stumble upon a creature that mutates into something horrific. However, it also has the siege quality of Aliens (along with a few other plot points from James Cameron’s seminal actioner) as a wide variety of mutant beasties attack our isolated protagonists.
Director Marvin Kren’s film may lack in originality but it has enough good moments and strong technical credits to make it an enjoyable piece of entertainment. Any film set in a remote station will be compared to John Carpenter’s horror and as a filmmaker you have to accept that. You’ll also have to accept that your film will never be as good as Carpenter’s – but I’m sure the comparison is all you want, right? Kren’s film never manages to achieve the claustrophobic tension of Carpenter’s (or Cameron’s) classic – but this has more to do with the (admittedly impressive) Alpine setting than a lack of technical nuance.
Blood Glacier’s biggest problem isn’t lack of originality, but the lack of character development. We aren’t given enough character moments to set things up before the horror elements kick-in. We know our hero Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) has a drink problem and an ex-girlfriend (Edita Malovcic) and that’s about it. Another character goes through a serious about-turn to suit the plot and add an unnecessary twist to the film’s last act. The set-up is everything in a horror movie – we need to care about the characters and believe in them.
Kren manages to fill the film with good cinematography and strong effects which balances the always welcome practical with CGI (not so welcome). The mutant evil at the core of the film’s plot harkens back to the body horror of early David Cronenberg, making this even more of an ‘80s throwback. Performance-wise, everyone does as they’re told but there’s nothing outstanding going on here. Everyone’s a bit dour, a bit po-faced and the film could use a touch of humour to add an extra layer to things.
Comparing Blood Glacier to The Thing and Aliens is a backhanded compliment. It’s never going to be as good as either of those films, but you’ll have an enjoyable enough time if you know that going in.
A trailer and a stills gallery showing the movie’s various creatures.