Film Review: Blood Red Sky

DIRECTED BY

Peter Thorwarth

STARRING

Peri Baumeister, Alexander Scheer, Kais Setti, Carl Koch, Gordon Brown, Roland Møller, Chidi Ajufo, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Graham McTavish and Dominic Purcell

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SYNOPSIS

A woman with a mysterious illness is forced into action when a group of terrorists attempt to hijack a transatlantic overnight flight.

When a group of terrorists hijacks an overnight transatlantic flight, a mysteriously ill woman must unleash a monstrous secret to protect her young son.

Blood Red Sky is an action horror film written by Stefan Holtz and Peter Thorwarth, with the latter also directing. The film focuses on Nadja, who is travelling from Germany to New York in order to receive a treatment that could help her with her current illness. Taking her son Elias with her, they are flying over the Atlantic Ocean when a group of terrorists assume control of the plane, leaving Nadja in a precarious position as the only chance that they and the other passengers have of survival is that Nadja unleashes her monstrous side.

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The film certainly had an interesting premise and while I’m sure some will come in expecting a Dawn of the Dawn-esque feature, Holtz and Thorwarth, for better or worse, treat the vampire element as seriously as they do in how they present the first act as a hostile terrorist takeover. The first half-an-hour of the film definitely had me invested in what was going on, giving us a few glimpses in to some of the other passengers that will feature in some capacity later in the film, to the different traits of the members of the terrorist group taking over the plane, as well as one passenger (Farid) that interacts with Nadja and Elias. I thought the look for Nadja’s transformation into her vampire form, as well as the gore that follows, was well done by the makeup department, particularly for one individual at a pivotal moment in the film. In terms of performances amongst the ensemble, I thought Peri Baumeister gave a committed performance as Nadja, a woman struggling to keep hold of her animalistic urges whilst trying to protect and raise her son, whilst Carl Koch is good playing the son Elias, who is the final piece of maintaining Nadja’s humanity, even in moments where it looks set to finally be lost. While Dominic Purcell and Roland Møller were the most recognisable faces for me playing members of the terrorist group, it was Alexander Scheer’s performance that was the highlight for me from the group, as he gets to be more flamboyant than the others, especially when he learns what Nadja truly is. Of the rest of the supporting ensemble, I do believe Kais Setti gave a good performance as Farid, though his character goes though some ridiculous scenarios as well as a particular scene in the film about his ethnicity and what the terrorist group force him to do that some may find problematic.

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Whilst the film has an interesting premise, like the trailers showed in the lead-up to the films release, and the vampire twist was the main selling point in the promotional material, Holtz and Thorwarth take the story into a direction which kind of halts and damages the momentum for me. When Nadja finally springs out and attacks the terrorists, instead of that being the primary focus, instead it focuses on Elias being the only thing that’s keeping her humanity intact rather than becoming a fully fledged monster. In theory, both options are potentially intriguing, but both are equally hampered due to how the origins have Nadja becoming a vampire takes focus away from the plane in certain moments of the film and structurally it didn’t work for me. While the film has some intriguing set-pieces, some of it just didn’t pop as much as it should’ve, particularly in a sequence in the final act that feels like you’re watching a different kind of horror film in how it plays out, but it’s so darkly lit and fast-cut that it doesn’t feel as effective as it should be and as a result you definitely feel the films two-hour runtime.

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VERDICT

Blood Red Sky has an interesting premise and a committed performance from Peri Baumeister, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite gel as effectively as it could have.

★★