Netflix’s action-horror Blood Red Sky packs in thrills and spills

Netflix‘s new action-horror Blood Red Sky packs in plenty of horror and action thrills, some super bloody deaths and a few interesting surprises, writes Daniel Rutledge.

Blood Red Sky’s trailers, including the one that plays automatically on your Netflix home screen—hell, even the thumbnail image—all give away its unique hook. It might be fun to go in not knowing what that is, but just to be clear—I’m about to spoil it, so read no further if you want to be completely unsullied.

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This is basically Die Hard on a plane with a benevolent vampire in the role of John McClane. While that iconic maverick cop’s wife being imperiled by the nasty terrorists made things all the more interesting, here it’s the bloodsucker’s vulnerable human son complicating things in a similar way.

While it never truly delivers on this awesome premise it does pack in plenty of horror and action thrills, some super bloody deaths and a few interesting surprises. The opening scene is a flash-forward that’s nice and intense from the get-go, then the tension gets ratcheted up fairly relentlessly, adding in increasingly dangerous elements for the whole running time. It’s a bit overlong and has some slightly boring bits that mess with the pace, but overall this is an entertaining romp.

The film takes place on Planet Earth and specifically on a current-day flight from Berlin to New York, and the characters in it are instantly familiar with what a vampire is and what its weaknesses are. They’ve seen the same vampire movies we all have, presumably. However, in an original twist on vampire lore, infected people turn undead within just a few minutes, more like how they do in zombie movies. In the latter part of the film, this makes shit escalate in a cool way that I shan’t give away.

The savage violence of Blood Red Sky is particularly enjoyable because of who is dishing out most of it against whom. The terrorists are particularly evil bastards and the movie hammers this home in some rather callous ways early on. What a joy it is then to see a superpowered matriarch protecting her brood with rage-filled brutality against those mean shitheads. Some of the action is poorly choreographed and shot on underlit sets, although there is more than enough gore to make it all zing. But what makes it all really worth watching is the central mother/son relationship, which is probably the film’s strongest element. The trip to New York is a last-ditch effort by a solo mum to do whatever it takes to keep her son safe, even from herself.

As appears to be the case with a lot of direct-to-streaming films, this one could’ve done with some tightening up. Had some of the bloat been cut out and the craziness been cranked up harder in the final act, this would’ve been absolutely brilliant. I’m dead keen for someone to get inspired by this and make something similar but better, as the vampire vs terrorists thing is mint. Netflix is releasing at least one original film per week every week in 2021 and of those I’ve seen, Blood Red Sky is among the best, despite being good rather than great.