★★★ out of ★★★★★
Horror takes to the skies once again with Netflix’s latest blood-soaked vampires-on-a-plane romp.
Directed by Peter Thorwarth
TransAtlantic airline flight #473. Not the most relaxing way to get to New York City. Annoying fellow passengers, the usual cramped airplane seats, hijackers. What else could possibly go wrong??
What begins as an adventure for Nadja [Peri Baumeister; Netflix’s Skylines (2019)] and her young son Elias — getting the ailing Nadja to New York to meet with a specialist in bloodborne diseases — becomes a waking nightmare at 35,000 feet.
It seems that Nadja has been dealing with a pesky case of vampirism following the death of her husband. Not only is she navigating the world as a single mother caring for her son [Carl Anton Koch in his feature length production debut], but she’s doing so under the cloud of a fatal disease. Maybe not fatal to her, but definitely fatal to anyone around her if she ever lost control.
Unfortunately for her (and everyone else on Flight 473), when hijackers lead by Dominic Purcell [TV’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016 – 2021)] take over the plane Nadja is forced to choose between continuing to fight her addiction and protecting her son.
Blood Red Sky easily fits into the vampire-disease camp. Becoming a vamp doesn’t involve any complicated blood sharing rituals, chalices, poetry, or capes. These vampires are addicts. Captives of an addiction that’s brutal, all-consuming, and savage.
Peri Baumeister’s performance is both inspiring and heart breaking in equal measure; a young mother’s sacrifice as she fights for her son’s survival. As she rides this dramatic edge, her portrayal of Nadja’s gradual transformation into something more animal than human steals every scene she’s in.
Director Peter Thorwarth made the correct decision for the special effects in his first horror movie and went with mainly practical work. Mark Coulier‘s talents with prosthetics and make up — which you’ve seen before in things like Suspiria (2018), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), and the Harry Potter series — are nicely showcased in Blood Red Sky with just a touch of CGI embellishment for flavor.
The writing for Blood Red Sky isn’t its strongest aspect. Most characters are little more than set dressing and a couple are downright annoying (and not in a good way). While the script was written in service to the mother/son story arc between Nadja and Elias, it would’ve been nice to get to know our villains a bit. Happily, the leads manage to cut a swath through the clichés and set themselves up with some space to make things happen.
Clocking in at just over two hours, Blood Red Sky could also have benefited from some more aggressive editing. The balance between drama and horror in this horror/drama is decent, but it’s about 20 or so minutes from being perfect. Clipping things down to tighten up both the action and the dramatic scenes would have made for a smoother experience with better pacing.
As a Netflix movie about vampires on a plane, though? Blood Red Sky is a fun ride with lots of action and some great looking monsters.
See you in the skies!
Blood Red Sky is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.