When one thinks of ‘Blood Red Sky’ movies like Liam Neeson’s ‘Non-Stop’, Wesley Snipes’ ‘Passenger 57’ and ‘From Dawn till Dusk’ directed by Robert Rodriguez immediately spring into mind. This horror flick has it all, lots of blood, jugulars being sliced open and razor-sharp teeth. Basically, all the creepy stuff that makes a horror flick are definitely prevalent. This original movie which is partly in German and English is also known as ‘Transatlantic 473’ and is directed by Peter Thorwarth who also co-wrote the screenplay with Stefan Holtz. ‘Blood Red Sky’ was released exclusively on Netflix on July 23 as part of the streamer’s plan to debut a new title every single week.
The film tells the story of Nadja, a single mom and a vampire in disguise played by German actress Peri Baumeister and her son Elias a role by Carl Anton Koch. They board a plane headed to New York City where Nadja is scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant to apparently cure off her leukemia.
However, what ails her isn’t the blood cancer but vampirism which she is trying to cure. Things look pretty normal, and the plane takes off, however, the flight isn’t seamless as onboard, there is a group of terrorists led by ‘Prison Break’ actor Dominic Purcell who hijack the plane once it reaches the Pacific Ocean.
We are not really told why the terrorists took over the plane which leaves a gaping hole in the storyline as we never see them taking anything from the plane and they are already about to jump off just moments after taking control of it. We do learn though they were planning to release some sort of poisonous gas onboard that would kill everyone so their mission could have been to murder all the passengers.
One of the zealots is a psychotic maniac named Eightball a character executed to perfection by Alexander Sheer, he seems to be fond of killing and shoots Nadja several times in front of all the other passengers and her little boy Elias who is devastated. But she doesn’t die, thanks to being a blood sucking creature, she survives to feed another day. As she regains her consciousness, we are given her back story in a series of flashbacks. So Nadja was pretty much a normal person, married to a guy called Nikolai, however, he gets murdered by a nightwalker after he goes to seek help when their car breaks down while on a family trip. When Nadja goes looking for him, she is bitten by the nasty critter and infected with the virus. This at least sheds light on her condition making sure the audience isn’t irritated by the lack of information.
Nadja has been able to conceal her vampirism for years, not even her son knows the kind of monster she hides inside until, she has to protect him from the heartless murderers. Normally action horror thrillers wait until maybe halfway through the film before chaos and mayhem step on board however this flick wastes no time. Before one can process the abduction and the killing of an ailing passenger, the situation turns into a blood bath.
Despite the great action and the brutality, ‘Blood Red Sky’ runs short of intensity and macabre. The vampire’s teeth do not look menacing enough, whereas it’s expected that when a vampire feeds, they are supposed to be stronger, faster, invincible, that’s not the case with Nadja, though she manages a few kills to her name motivated by her maternal instincts, she looks pretty weak and doesn’t scare the villains that easily. Her fangs and facial looks could have been gorier, more menacing and intimidating.
So back to the hijacking, just before the bad guys are about to bail out, they discover there is a blood sucker inside their ride and make a beeline to the cockpit to get rid of her. Things turn south and Nadja kills the leader of the gang. Eightball being the power-hungry blood thirsty psycho he is, takes the opportunity to turn himself into a vampire by injecting Nadja’s blood into his veins. Hell breaks loose and before people process what’s happening around them, everyone in the plane is turned into a vampire with the exception of Elias and Farid a role by Kais Setti who successfully land the plane.
On the ground, the military is waiting because of one detail. When the terrorists took over the place, they forced some Muslim passengers to record statements claiming responsibility. So, we can’t blame the commander for being extremely nervous when the plane touches down. Despite Farid stating countless times that he can’t let the passengers go, they still insist on sending their men inside. This aspect helps in building suspense as the authorities are in the dark regarding the facts and are only acting on the information they have.
This feature really focuses a lot on the relationship between a mother and her child and the extremes she is determined to cross to keep her kid safe. There are countless emotional moments which definitely make one’s eyes well up and it touches a personal place for anyone with a heart of course. Sadly, this love is overpowered by the monster’s side forcing a loving son to blow his mother and the rest of the vampires into flames when he realizes she and the others have completely lost their humanity.
The claustrophobic feel of this movie as terrifying things happen to helpless passengers, thousands of feet above the ocean, with nowhere to escape to helps drive the anxiety among audiences. There isn’t much to say about costumes as the film is basically an at-the-moment kind of a situation and the music works magic going high during highspeed action and toning down when emotions hit.
Though Baumeister’s masterful acting kept ‘Blood Red Sky’ afloat, this title is far from perfect but nonetheless entertaining and a little bit suspenseful.