If you know you are watching a creature feature, then you also already know what kind of movie you're getting into. With that said, the latest offering from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Raven Banner Films on DVD; Blood Glacier (released on August 19, 2014) gets right into the bizarre and gory sub-horror genre without kid gloves. Glacier is actually a German-made foreign film which has been given a wide English exposure here in North America. After circulating the Sinister Cinema circuit in June, it now finds itself released on video. So what can horror fans expect?
Well first, if you love movies like The Thing or The Fly, then Blood Glacier is right up your ally. In a way the movie takes elements of those two classic films and uses it as an advantage to tell its own story. The film takes place at a climate scientific research facility at the Alpine Glaciers, where a team of three scientists and a station manager make a staggering discovery while on expedition. One glacier has been mysteriously coated by blood-red micro-organisms, giving it the look of a 'bleeding' formation. The team quickly discovers their dire situation when they realize that the surrounding wildlife has been massively affected by the phenomenon, creating extremely dangerous mutant hybrids of animals the organisms come into contact with after they are ingested in the stomach and combine the DNA of the contents and the host.
The creations range from a 'beetle-fox' to a 'raven-spider' and so on and so forth. Not only is Blood Glacier somewhat creative in its design but it actually carries a little character depth as well. The scientists of the station quickly turn greedy when they make the discovery and realize this is their shot at global recognition, while the movie is also anchored by (would you believe it?) of all things a love story, between the station manager Janek and his ex, Tanja who arrives to the station with an untimely expedition.
That's not to say the movie is a perfect representation of the creature feature genre, but it definitely is B-level at its best. The film has some pretty good jump scares, the special effects stay consistently believable (never laughably campy or over-cooked) and while some of the acting is over-the-top, the cast does a fairly commendable job considering the material. The movie is also nicely shot on the location, with no frame feeling cheap or manufactured. While the bulk of the film is entertaining, some may groan and understandably eye-roll at the final surprise detail the story rolls out.
While the DVD is bare bones and contains no special features, it does possess some strengths in the technical presentation. The standard definition image (an anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35:1 ratio) is fairly solid, not too high on black levels and clear, with very little amounts of grain. But the shining selling point of the DVD is unquestionably its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which is surprisingly detailed, strong and audibly broad for a regular disc.
A viewer should take note that the audio track is optioned in two different languages, a subtitled original German version and an English dub-over. It is recommended to watch the film in its original language, because the English voice-over is awkward to hear coming from the mouths of characters that don't match visually. Not only that but the voice-actors subbing in sound like they're reading from a script and are simply earning a cheque. The German version is far more authentic and doesn't take a viewer out of the experience of the movie.
Blood Glacier is not for everyone, but if you accept that you're watching a pretty creative foreign creature feature, you might end up liking it. There are some elements that are hard to watch if you are an animal lover and the ending is perhaps so ludicrous that it might blow away the validity of the rest of the film. Still, the movie is made well, the creature effects are good and the DVD's technical presentation of the film is very strong. Get ready for a crazy ride horror fans!