Review: Netflix' Horror/Action 'Blood Red Sky' is Bathed in Blood and Accentuated with Explosions

by Derek Deskins

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday July 21, 2021

Peri Baumeister as Nadja and Carl Koch as Elias in 'Blood Red Sky'
Peri Baumeister as Nadja and Carl Koch as Elias in 'Blood Red Sky'  (Source:Netflix)

With every new streaming service, Netflix bleeds some of its catalogue. So what is Netflix to do when they lose the rights to content? Well, replace it with their own, of course.

The streamer plans to release 71 movies in 2021, or more than one new movie every week. It's a lofty promise that initially delights. More movies is always a good thing, right? Sure, but anyone that grew up strolling the aisles of a brick-and-mortar video store, will tell you: There's a lot of trash out there.

With that being said, if Netflix is good at anything, it's enticing you. To get a greenlight at Netflix, you either need a big name or an intriguing premise. But while Netflix has mastered the art of hooking an audience, they have struggled with follow through. "Blood Red Sky" is another example of how they can't stick the landing.

Nadja hasn't been feeling well for quite some time. Luckily, she has found a doctor in the States that may be able to help her; she just needs to get there. She boards her transatlantic flight with her son in tow, nervous but excited at the prospect of a more normal future. But when her flight is hijacked by terrorists, she is faced with a choice: Die on the plane or unleash the beast within.

Do you see what I mean? A plane hijacking interrupted by a vampire is all that you need to say to get me to sign up. That's exactly what Netflix is banking on, and with brutal action, impressive makeup and effects work, and a decent budget, "Blood Red Sky" is able to deliver more than its worth of enjoyment. But it never manages to feel like much more than the competently-made direct-to-video feature that it is.

My biggest issue with the film is that it fails to recognize who should actually be the film's main character. It places Nadja at the fore, a struggling mother whose inherent fear of her own "illness" largely renders her reserved and meek. Writer-director Peter Thorwarth struggles to forge a connection between her and the audience, dwelling in an unnecessary backstory that does little more than fill time.

A better protagonist is Farid, a Middle Eastern scientist that is temporarily used as a red herring for the audience. We have been conditioned to expect that a plane hijacker/terrorist will speak Arabic, but Farid is no terrorist. However, if the film had been centered around Farid, it would have been something else entirely, shifting from a shallow vampire actioner to a film about perception, expectations, and racism (but with vampires on a plane). As written, Nadja is no more than her sickness, and the audience doesn't need to feel for a vampire (we have the "Twilight" franchise for that). However, using genre trappings to explore something far more human and pervasive, and forcing the audience to confront their own inherent biases, is infinitely more interesting. I just wish that that was the movie we got.

As it is, "Blood Red Sky" is a perfectly fine horror action film, bathed in blood and accentuated with explosions. It won't surprise you, but it'll keep you entertained for most of its runtime.

"Blood Red Sky" streams at Netflix starting July 23.