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Film Review: In an Otherwise Generic Story, the Protagonist of “Blood Red Sky” Shines

Written by: Adam Vaughn | July 22nd, 2021

Film poster: “Blood Red Sky”

Blood Red Sky (Peter Thorwarth, 2021) 2½ out of 4 stars. 

Director Peter Thorwarth (Der letzte Bulle) shines a light – or rather, no light, only darkness – on vampirism and the claustrophobic nightmare of being trapped thousands of feet in the air with bloodthirsty creatures. While Blood Red Sky inevitably becomes a generic and conventional slasher, much can be said about Thorwarth’s devotion to telling this clichéd story through the eyes of an intriguing and relatable female protagonist. Though the film may not offer a memorable premise, it does succeed in having the viewer root for the good guy, even if she turns out to be not so good.

Blood Red Sky tells the story of Nadja (Peri Baumeister, Peitruss), a widow and mother who succumbs to a mysterious illness while boarding a transatlantic flight. When the plane is commandeered by a group of radical terrorists, Nadja must protect her son at all costs from the threat. All the while, she struggles to maintain her bloodthirsty appetite, as her disease makes its way to the surface, threatening every passenger on the plane, citizen and terrorist alike. With the clock ticking, Nadja must not only combat the dangerous threats that loom on the transatlantic flight, but also her own inner demons.

l-r: Peri Baumeister and Carl Koch in BLOOD RED SKY ©Netflix

Thorwarth’s greatest element is a unique and entertaining dynamic of good versus evil. The story twists the usual man-versus-monster motif and turns it around. This time, it’s the monster  fighting for good, and the humans are the evil. This story point, mixed with several flashbacks explaining Nadja’s origins, gives the plot a solid, empowered protagonist to root for, with some interesting yet generic personalities behind the individual terrorist members to balance the dynamic. The additional theme of Nadja-versus-herself also succeeds in adding additional tension, for at any moment Nadja could involuntarily turn on the ones she’s trying to protect … including her own son.

While this character development initially holds the viewer’s interest, it doesn’t distract from the fact that Blood Red Sky comes with a simple, uninspired script delineating a fight for survival. The film starts to lose believability as more and more bodies pile up, and by the end, we’re left with little more than a film riding on the shoulders of countless other vampire flicks. The result is that Blood Red Sky doesn’t deliver much past the gore and guts to entertain, and ultimately this film’s conventional storyline overshadows its potential and character study.

Peri Baumeister in BLOOD RED SKY ©Netflix

Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

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