Blood Red Sky is so close to finding that fine spot of melodrama and horror but never quite reaches such heights.
Published on July 28, 2021
Rating 2.5 /5
There was probably a draft of Blood Red Sky that read as Vampires on a Plane. I’m certain that some audiences will mark the film off as such, at the very least for shorthand. As a stimulating dose of action and horror, the film very much delivers on this premise with lots of terror and violence with the dangers of trying to land a plane full of people, terrorists, and vampires. Despite some turbulent spots of melodrama and horror tropes, it mostly achieves lift-off status.
It’s a perfect storm movie where all the chaotic dominos fall into place. Nadja is a widow from Germany who is traveling with her son Elias to New York. Her son is smart and understanding but she is having difficulties maintaining her condition that requires drugs. At the same time, terrorists have boarded this plane for the purposes of making a political statement, intending to force a crash landing to achieve their dangerous goals. Nadja finds herself thrown into this mix and tries to defend her son from being killed. In doing so, however, she reveals her true condition: She’s a vampire who has problems controlling her bloodlust.
A vampire would seem to be a good ally for taking down a band of terrorists holding the occupants of the plane at gunpoint. That would be true if Nadja were in better control of herself. While she can sometimes pull herself back with the love of her son, it won’t always work. Even more troublesome is that if she bites or scratches one of the terrorists, they themselves will come back to life with a similar thirst for blood. With this vampire component in play, it’s pretty much guaranteed that something is going to go awry.
As the title would imply, Blood Red Sky is quite violent and doesn’t skimp on the blood and gore. Characters are brutally savaged as Nadja rips and tears her way through bad men who want to hurt her son. The further that Nadja dives into her vampire state leads to some decent makeup effects of her losing her hair and growing some teeth, her lips smeared in deep crimson. The terrorists are genuinely threatening. Some of them cackle while others simply tower with stoic attitudes. The passengers are also quite capable and have some personality and some smarts. Although I simply can’t let it go that the American couple have this awkward manner of speaking English where it’s not believable that this portly duo are Americans based on their stumbling of the language.
Survival plays a key role in how violence comes about. Just when we think the plane has conquered the vampires, one passenger lets his dying state fuel his desire to be immortal, choosing to unleash the unholy that will grant him eternal life. Though calls are made about whether or not to open the cockpit, rig the engines, or let Nadja loose. I also dug the bookended segment of the plane landing and tried to figure out just what went down inside the craft and what horrors Elias had seen.
Not all of the pictures work though. While I appreciated the backstory that proceeds with Nadja being conflicted about someone like herself not being able to exist in a world that can’t support monsters. Honestly, it’s unneeded, especially when Elias spends roughly the entire picture pleading with the passengers not to hurt his mother, even though she starts becoming responsible for the carnage that follows. The mother-son relationship is crucial but it’s also hard to swallow while she’s guzzling red.
Blood Red Sky is so close to finding that fine spot of melodrama and horror but never quite reaches such heights. Technically, the film is impressive. But that graphic expertise can only wow for so long before the cries of Elias and the growls of Nadja wear thin. All the positive traits and present but the parts never kick up the way they feel they should for being a film about vampires on an airplane.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.