Marvin Kren’s enjoyable if ephemeral horror movie gets by for a while on its dopey premise. Somewhere in the Austrian Alps, morose researcher Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) is drunk again. His exasperated colleagues are nonplussed, and a malfunctioning data-gatherer needs to be repaired before the science minister (Brigitte Kren) arrives with Janek’s ex Tanja (Edita Malovcic) for an inspection. Over the hills the hungover Janek goes, with his trusty dog in tow, where they discover a crimson ice wall. A blood glacier!
This is no ordinary blood glacier, though. It’s actually home to a microcellular organism that infects its prey and turns them into incubators for mutated monstrosities, like a carnivorous oversize mountain goat and a swooping insect-falcon with a chest-bursting stinger. These beasts—most of them created with impressively tactile practical effects as opposed to weightless CGI—attack their quarry with jump-scare mercilessness. Who will survive? Will anyone?
You’ll likely have visions of John Carpenter’s version of The Thing and Ridley Scott’s Alien dancing in your head throughout. (Beware the fox-louse face-hugger!) And as is the case in so many derivative horror movies, the otherworldly villains are more interesting than the human element. The attempts made to flesh out Janek and Tanja’s rocky relationship, especially, are pure Screenwriting 101 contrivance. This neuters the emotional impact of the final scenes, in which Kren strains for some David Cronenberg–esque pathos that belongs in a much better movie.
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