Netflix’s newest foreign offering, Blood Red Sky, can be pared down to four simple words: vampires on a plane. It’s FX’s The Strain, set in the air. This fast-paced, bloody thrill ride delivers on the monster mayhem, but comes up short both narratively and in its thinly-sketched characters. The action comes fast and furious, often so quickly that you barely register names before the victim gets shot, stabbed, or ripped open. Director Peter Thorwarth has an eye for gory, heart-pounding suspense, let down only by the straightforward and flimsy script.
It all starts in Scotland, where a plane lands with explosives on board. A child is discovered, and there’s an immediate assumption that terrorism must be involved. Who is left on the plane? In order to find the answers, we must go all the way back to when it’s first boarded. A kid (Carl Anton Koch) weirdly obsessed with time zones waits in the lobby while his mother Nadja (Peri Baumeister) injects herself with alleged bone marrow implants. The shots actually help suppress a horrible secret—spoiler alert: she’s hiding powers and vampirism. When a group of terrorists hijack their flight to NY, Nadja and Elias must fight for survival.
The pilot is violently stabbed to death. After being shot in the chest 3 times, it’s clear that her human side will not be enough to face off against these awful people. The only hope of making it through the night is for Nadja to embrace the hidden bloodthirsty beast that lives inside of her. Her motherly instinct kicks in, and Nadja makes the only decision she can to protect Elias. She dispatches several of the men in bloody fashion. The vampire plague spreads all across the plane’s hierarchy, with Nadja the only hope.
The vampires themselves are fierce and terrifying. It’s clear that the main focus went into making the monsters as intense as possible. Think 30 Days of Night, meets 28 Days Later, and you have a good idea as to the motion and functions of the creepy vampires. At least in this regard, Blood Red Sky may indeed warrant a watch.
The flaws, as previously stated, mainly lie in the characters, or lack-thereof. We should be fully invested and Nadja and Elias, yet there’s a disconnect. With such heavy focus on pace and action, their bond falls to the wayside. Their struggle to survive could’ve been bold and exciting. Instead, it left me feeling a cool indifference.
The ending, which should be hard-hitting, is just bleak and depressing. It doesn’t feel very earned, though I guess it aligns with the vague setup. So much potential is present in Blood Red Sky that I wish the script and characters had been given calculated attention. In the harsh light of day, Blood Red Sky is bound to burst to flames under the flimsy weight of its minor successes. It does however remind us that there’s an inherent evil within all of us just waiting to be unleashed.
Blood Red Sky provides in-flight entertainment when it premieres on Netflix July 23rd.