Film Review

Blood Red Sky (2021)

todayMarch 28, 2024 27

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By – Gareth Jones

For fans of vampire movies with a twist, thought-provoking questions,

A few days ago, I attended a great presentation on how feminism is a powerful lens when examining international relations. As part of the presentation, the instructor asked what monster feminism would be labeled as in the world of IR.  There were several suggestions. When the instructor revealed the answer, we all had an “of course it is” moment.  The vampire.  With tropes and stereotypes of women such a comparison became obvious. We listed several of these and one that stood out to me is the stereotype of women as nurturers of children versus men as protectors.  Of course this is a false binary, and the film that connected all of these thoughts for me is the vampire film that I recently watched called Blood Red Sky.  It tells the story of a mother and child who are traveling from Germany to the United States, hiding the fact that she is a vampire and heading to the states to receive a medical treatment that could cure her vampirism. Of course, things are disrupted when a group of terrorists take over the plane they are on and all hell breaks loose.

Directed and co-written by German Peter Thorwarth, most well known for writing The Wave. Here he develops a nice spin on the vampire genre with the character of Nadja, the mother vampire trying to protect her son from the terrorists and from herself.  She is played by Peri Baumeister, known to American audiences for the series, The Signal.  Here she does an excellent job exploring the balance between nature and nurture.  Will the vampire nature of her need for blood overwhelm her need to nurture and protect her son.  She takes some kind of drug to inhibit her vampiric needs but the terrorists destroy her supply leading to her revelation and massacre of many terrorists and passengers.

The film actually begins with the plane having already landed and a team of terrorism specialists led by the always reliable Graham McTavish (always Dwalin from The Hobbit for me).  The rest of the story is then told through flashbacks to the story of the mother and child, how she became a vampire, and then the actions on the plane.

The terrorists are led by Berg, played by Dominic Purcell, but among the group is a lunatic masquerading as a flight attendant, known simply as Eightball because of a tattoo on his arm.  He is already a psychopath, more interested in killing than getting any money.  The terrorist plot is a bit ridiculous, but his character is greatly enhanced by an over the top performance by Alexander Sheer.  The film also plays with our expectations of who are terrorists usually in films and how that connects to international reactions.

Now, this is not a great film, but it does add to the mythos of the vampire film.  It uses many of the tropes and stereotypes of the genre, but the exploration of the mother/son dynamic is a welcome addition to this always evolving genre.  The comparison of vampirism to cancer is also an expansion of the genre.  Both of these elements connect to this idea of feminism and one can see that this battle in the film can be reflective of how women are treated and perceived in a male-dominated world and genre in this case.  It is not a perfect match, but I do enjoy films that make me think and make these kinds of connections.  It still delivers many of the gory details you expect in this kind of film, as well as some action sequences.  It is worth seeing for Baumeister’s performance and for a thoughtful conversation.

Available to stream on Netflix

Written by: Gareth Jones

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