Blood Red Sky (2021) Brings Vicious Vampires Back to Life
Updated: Feb 6
Title: Blood Red Sky
First Wide Release: July 23, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Peter Thorwarth
Writer: Stefan Holtz, Peter Thorwarth
Runtime: 123 Minutes
Starring: Peri Baumeister, Carl Anton Koch, Kais Setti
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Nadja (Peri Baumeister) is on a transatlantic flight from Germany to New York City with her son Elias (Carl Anton Koch) so she can get life-saving treatment from a local doctor. Unfortunately for them their plane is taken over by terrorists who are planning on hijacking the plane and detonating a bomb to influence the stock market. Everything is going to plan until Nadja reveals her true colors. She has been moonlighting as a vampire ever since she was bitten in the attack that killed her husband years ago. Desperate and with only one chance to get to New York City for treatment and protective of her son’s life, Nadja realizes that the only way to survive is to let the evil inside her come alive.
Blood Red Sky is a high-octane vampire action horror thriller that sinks its teeth fully into its premise.
This film came out of nowhere and absolutely rocked. Boasting solid production values and kickass vampire design and creature effects, no one really thought much of its announcement a few months ago. Clearly the audiences who are finding it are thrilled with its tense action and bonkers premise.
Nadja is an excellent hero even by the end. She is constantly fighting off the darkness inside her and thinking of every way to save her son. It’s frustrating to watch her not go into full vampire mode and kill off the terrorists immediately. This internal struggle may not register for the viewer who wants a swifter end to the chaos, but it makes sense that she is fighting the primal evil inside her that was injected via vampire bite. It makes it easier to root with her even though she could turn into a villain later given the circumstances.
This idea germinates into many different ones depending on one’s vantage point. I’ve seen other takes on this film state how Nadja’s vampirism can be interpreted as a metaphor for children feeling powerless to watching their parents succumb to lethal diseases. Others have mentioned the more political aspects of terrorism on the plane and how the least dangerous person on the plane is the Middle Eastern man who is thrust between white hijackers and a literal vampire.
My take might be a bit too sentimental and basic, but I immediately thought of the power of a mother’s love. Nadja’s love for Elias drives her motivations throughout the entire film. She shields him from the original vampire attacker and is then struck with the infection that leads to her descent. Every day she works to put food on the table and keep him safe despite being unable to work or enjoy life during the day. Finally, she sees her chance at a normal life by having a life altering surgery and the only thing she can think about on that plane is keeping Elias safe. Everything she does out of self-preservation is only out of the necessity of keeping him safe, right down to her very last actions in the bottom of the plane. She suppresses the worst in her to save her son not once or twice, but multiple times. It’s amazing.
Baumeister plays Nadja with vulnerable finesse which shifts to something monstrous when her dark side takes over and wreaks controlled havoc. Koch’s portrayal of Elias is nothing to sneeze at either. Deviating from the nor by portraying Elias as an observant, resourceful, and rather affable young lad, Koch makes his unrealistic choices feel earned in a way that wouldn’t have been as genuine had it come from a less capable actor. The true star of the show, however, is Alexander Scheer’s performance of the initially unassuming Eightball only to emerge as the most sadistic of hijackers and worthiest of antagonists.
A high-concept action horror that never relents and with a heart that never fails to tug at heartstrings, Blood Red Sky is the vampire movie we needed this year. There’s very little criticism that I can lob at this film’s way. Aside from its super long runtime and framing device that has some issues (despite largely working), it doesn’t have many flaws. It’s a straightforward horror film that only hopes to give its audience the best possible time, which I think is a commendable thing to do nowadays.
Netflix is absolutely killing the game lately and this latest release speaks to the quality of content they are producing. Scary, intense, and even touching, it’s a breath of fresh air for the vampire subgenre bringing back the vicious legions of the undead last seen in their fully glory in 30 Days of Night. It never overstays its welcome but instead injects hearty doses of vampiric terror at 40,000 feet high. Most will come for the ludicrous on paper premise and stay for the strong mother-son relationship that unfurls across nautical miles. Blood Red Sky may not be on your radar, but I hope you find it soon to experience the airborne bloodletting.
Overall Score? 8/10