The mixing of vampires, terrorist hijacking, and mother-son drama works surprisingly well for Blood Red Sky as there is enjoyment to be had with this movie.
Vampires are one of the most common monsters you can find in movies. Almost any type of vampire has been portrayed on the big screen. You have killer vampires in the Blade trilogy and From Dusk Till Dawn, melancholic vampires in An Interview With A Vampire and Let The Right One In, and sparkly vampires in the Twilight franchise. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to switch things up, but that is where Blood Red Sky comes in. Netflix’s newest offering about a vampire protecting her son during an airplane hijacking, Blood Red Sky is actually quite decent given how Netflix’s original horror movies are hit or miss. While it won’t be held up as the new standard-bearer of the genre, this German horror movie is still an enjoyable ride from start to finish.
FAMILY DRAMA AT ITS CORE
The movie follows a woman named Nadja (Peri Baumeister) and her son Elias (Carl Anton Koch). Nadja suffers from a mysterious illness and is traveling with her son from Germany to America for a special treatment. But during the flight, the plane is hijacked by terrorists, and Nadja is forced to let out her dark secret in order to protect her son.
Blood Red Sky shifts between being a drama and a horror movie. One on hand, you have the relationship between Nadja and Elias, the bond the two have as they try to protect each other. On the other hand, there is the horror-thriller aspect of the movie as Nadja fights the terrorists with her vampiric powers and some other nasties. The movie manages to blend both genres well. From the beginning all the way until the end, Nadja and Elias’ relationship is at the center of the movie. Even when things get bloody, the movie doesn’t forget the mother-son relationship. Most of the violence done in the movie is in the context of Nadja wanting to protect her son.
Their relationship is made believable thanks to a strong performance from Peri Baumeister. She is a force to be reckoned with as not only does she transform physically through makeup and prosthetics, but also with her animalistic rage and motherly instincts. She carries the whole movie, and you can feel her trying to wrestle between her human and vampire side. She’s trying her best to stop the evil within her from taking over. There’s a terrific tug-of-war that Nadja has to deal with internally as she crosses the line and then pulls herself back before she goes too far.
GENERIC VILLAINS AND SIDE CHARACTERS
While Blood Red Sky features strong performances from the main cast, the villains aren’t that memorable. Most of them are generic henchmen while others just play stereotypes of what we have come to expect in bad guys. Though at least Alexander Scheer’s performance as Eightball is pretty good. As the wildcard and psychopath of the terrorists, he hams it up a lot of serves as a great antagonist to Nadja.
The film also tries to humanize things by introducing us to the crew members and passengers so that you’ll feel invested in their survival, but the result is a mixed bag. For some characters, like Kais Setti’s Farid, you care for his safety and want him to do well. But for others, they don’t leave enough of an emotional impact in you to care whether they live or not.
At just two hours long, Blood Red Sky can feel a bit draggy at parts, especially during its middle, but it’s not bad enough to detract from your enjoyment. Some parts could have been left in the editing room, but it does have some twists that make things interesting. In the movie’s lore, for example, vampirism is transferred to a human in just minutes, like how people would turn into zombies quickly when bitten. This then ups the ante for Nadja as not only has she have to think about herself and her son, but also making sure to not turn others, and prevent possible carriers from escaping the plane. The movie also hints at the wider world and backstory of the vampires, though it isn’t explained much here, but could be in a possible sequel.
The action can and will get intense as with every passing minute, the film makes the situation go from bad to potentially catastrophic. The movie manages to build suspense because it continuously adds to its existing dangers and ups the stakes. It’s like a “Yes, and” kind of movie that keeps on adding new things to the plot to make it more exciting but not necessarily making it feel bloated.
With that being said, having a movie set on a plane, you can only go so far with the action, especially if it features vampires. The movie does try its best to use the space it has for some dynamic action, but a vampire can only do so much inside an airplane. There is definitely some inherent tension in setting a horror movie inside a cramped and limiting environment, but it gets tiring at some parts.
A DECENT HORROR MOVIE
All in all, Blood Red Sky is a fun bloodbath. The movie shines thanks to its intense scenes and the strong emotional bond between Nadja and Elias. What helps it stand out from other vampire flicks is that at its core, Blood Red Sky is about a mother and son, and her willingness to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. The blending of horror and heist works here because of that. The emotional core is established from the start, and it’s never forgotten. It’s like Train To Busan meets Snakes On A Plane, not as good as the former, but way better than the latter. A change in setting could have made for a better movie, but if you’re looking for an entertaining horror movie to watch on Netflix on Saturday night, Blood Red Sky’s plane ride from hell should suffice.
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