Movie Review: BLOOD GLACIER Will Cool, But Probably Not Freeze, Your Blood

"Stop eating that banana while you're crying!"

Without going into too many spoilers, I can confirm that Blood Glacier does in fact contain both blood and a glacier. It even has a glacier that bleeds. So people who demand their titles be literal should find plenty to enjoy.

Those looking only for a solid low budget monster film in the vein of The Thing should also be pretty happy. Blood Glacier does a lot of things right, delivering a cool, if modest, new creature film unto the world. Through its belly.

Some scientists and a blue-collar schlub live in a very remote part of the Austrian Alps studying the receding glaciers (that's our fault, people). One day they come across Blood Glacier, a perviously buried bit of ice mountain which seeps a microscopic life form that gets into animals, mixes with that animal's DNA and any animal DNA found digesting in its tummy, incubates this anomaly to term, then pops it out for awesome horror fun. Our heroes have to deal with it. They do okay. I think. Honestly, the movie has a great ending that's at once happy, sad, and apocalyptic, so who knows.

Blood Glacier's main selling point arrives via the wonderfully grotesque creatures on display. Gory and practical, these guys are a lot of fun to look at as they not only act evil and vicious but creatively combine recognizable animal features was well. So you might have some kind of glowy-eyed insect ram rather than just a random scary thing. The problem with this approach is budgetary, and therefore a bit understandable. We just never get as good a look at these monsters as we want. They show up enough to keep the film from feeling like a total tease, but they do not quite satisfy.

The human characters help balance this, however, giving Blood Glacier its real achievement. We're lucky to have even one cool, memorable character in movies like this. Blood Glacier has two. We meet our main hero, Janek (Gerhard Liebmann), as a hungover loser who runs around doing IT work in front of his scientist co-workers in nothing but a sweater and his tighty-whities. So he's awesome. As the film progresses, he reveals himself as brave, smart, and capable, while also holding together the film's moral center. He may be a mess, but he's a true hero, even through an ill-advised episode of masculine mopiness late in the film.

As Blood Glacier enters its second half, Janek gets to share his heroism with an elderly female politician, Ministerin Bodicek (Brigitte Kren), who arrives amid all this monster business and doesn't blink much before taking matters into her own hands. That's her randomly hilarious quote in this article's subtitle, and it should clue you in on how much ass she kicks.

Despite that quote, by the way, Blood Glacier doesn't mess around with cute humor or self-reference jokes. The monsters are cool, but this is a straightforward horror film aiming to raise only tension and dread. It has little interest exploring anything that doesn't adhere to that tone. It's fun, in the way creature features can be fun, but never funny.

And in that line of thinking, it's also worth noting that Blood Glacier isn't exactly a fast film, either. At just over ninety minutes, it manages to feel a full two hours long. That's actually okay in this case. The monster action is parsed out well, the characters are definitely worth following, and the geographical cinematography is often quite beautiful.

Blood Glacier isn't exactly exemplary, but it does represent the kind of higher low-bar we should expect from low budget DTV fare but so rarely get. In other words, this is one of the good ones.