Blood Red Sky Review

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Blood Red Sky premieres Friday, July 23 on Netflix.

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Star Peri Baumeister blends jagged ferocity with maternal depth in Blood Red Sky, an effective and entertaining blend of horror and action set aboard a hijacked transatlantic flight. There’s a tighter movie nestled within Blood Red Sky, which could stand to lose 10 to 15 minutes from its run time, but on the whole, it’s a great and gory vampire story designed to take us and its characters on a voyage of sinister surprises.

While Blood Red Sky blends and shifts between genres, it isn’t as gonzo or outlandish as something like 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn, although its intentions are similar. It’s designed to throw everything off balance and present us with a situation that goes from bad to catastrophic because of bloodsucking fiends. It works as a suspense piece because it continuously adds to its existing dangers, rarely subtracting from them.

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Blood Red Sky drags during some of its middle, and then goes a bit long with the third (well, fourth) act, but Baumeister’s performance, along with some nifty twists, helps carry this monster mash-up across the finish line. Adding to the wickedness of the plot is the fact that vampirism, in this particular mythos, can be transferred and transmitted as quickly as zombie-ism. It’s a unique spin on a well-played genre, and raises the stakes for Baumeister’s Nadja; not only has to think about herself and her son (Carl Koch), but also the ramifications of attacking others, which most of the time she has no choice over.

Most thrillers set on a plane, regardless of how big the aircraft is, will struggle to keep things moving and flowing. Hell, even 1992’s Passenger 57 had everyone get off the plane and then get back on it just to increase the action and movement. Blood Red Sky has similar stumbling blocks, but the vampiric swerves help jump some of these hurdles.

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Baumeister is a force to be reckoned with. She not only transforms via makeup and prosthetics, but also with her other-worldly movements and unleashing of animalistic rage. And even within that, she’s a human trying her best to rein in these cravings and desires for the sake of her boy. There’s a terrific tug-of-war going on inside Nadja as she crosses lines and then pulls herself back from the brink. Performance-wise, Alexander Scheer also shines as the wild card of a crew of villains led by Dominic Purcell. Like Nadja, Scheer’s Eightball is someone who’s going to cause expansive trouble, no matter whose side he’s on, and he makes for a great foil for Nadja. Purcell’s performance, meanwhile, is decent, not breaking the mastermind mold, but delivering satisfactory goods as the head of this hired hijack team.

The film also lets us get to know several of the crew members and passengers, allowing investment in the collateral damage and, in turn, the overall stakes. Sometimes attempts to give us quick shots of passengers in these disaster movies go awry, as we’re usually introduced to a parade of caricatures and/or bad stereotypes, but Blood Red Sky is able to pull it off with moderate success. And yet, by the end of the film, you sort of retroactively realize that some of the stuff presented ultimately didn’t matter, and that maybe there was a better story to tell within the larger one. Still, the final result is still a fun, worthwhile bloodbath.

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Like many solid horror films, Blood Red Sky can be boiled down to a very intense, emotional bond. Throughout this tale, we’re given pieces of Nadja’s origin story and how Elias has basically grown up with his single mom being a vampire. There are a lot of moving parts, but at its core the movie 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 presented to us from the start and it’s never forgotten.

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