IFC’s attempt to make a Syfy original movie goes better than expected with Blood Glacier. The story is about a group of scientists stationed at a remote research compound when they discover a single-celled organism that infects more complicated hosts and combines their DNA with others to make super-violent hybrids. The premise is a lot like John Carpenter’s The Thing except I think the science of it makes more sense despite this film’s boring explanation for how the organism works. It’s over-complicated and convoluted and unnecessary since it doesn’t do much to contribute to the horror of the film.
Blood Glacier is a German film, but the default setting on the DVD is to watch it dubbed over in English. I found this very distracting as the voice actors didn’t seem well paired with their German counterparts. I soon went back to the menu and changed the audio to its original German and watched the film with subtitles. This really helped me to get invested in what was going on and start to care about the characters.
As much as I enjoy horror movies, I rarely see them as great films. At their best they’re capable of being fun and maybe a bit creepy. With a really fantastic horror movie I’ll feel the need to someday watch it again, but that’s not the case with Blood Glacier. It is fun, and they make some attempts to develop the characters and their relationships with each other, but I’m not so interested or invested that I cared when people died. The most effective sentimentality the film creates is when the main character’s dog is infected by the parasite. It’s discovered too late and you really feel bad that this animal is going to be used to create a monster.
The main character, Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) is definitely the best rounded character in the film. He has stayed on working at the research station for four years beyond the typical one year stay other scientists commit to. A failed relationship with Tanja (Edita Malovcic) has caused him to lose any interest in returning to the outside world; an avoidance plan that doesn’t work out so well when Tanja randomly comes back.
The creature effects are well done, especially when the organism manifests as a swarm of hornets and cause pandemonium. I think maybe it was easier for the filmmakers to have a monster that replicates other animals rather than having to be creative and design a completely original monster.
The only special feature is the movie’s trailer. Available on DVD from IFC on August 26.