Bites off more than it can chew
Blood Red Sky is a simple film of two halves. The first, a slow-moving, dread-inducing thrill ride depicting a hostage takeover on a plane. The second, devolves into a formulaic action flick that takes a massive amount of inspiration from Snakes on a Plane. The end result is a film that has a few nice ideas but is in desperate need of tightening up.
The story begins with the questionable decision of showing the end of the film. Within this, a plane touches down and airport staff scramble to communicate with those onboard. It’s been hijacked and according to them the pilot is one of these terrorists. But is he really? An interview with a young boy called Elias could well prove to be decisive when it comes to these questions.
We then cut back in time to see the events leading up to this landing. Elias and her mother, Nadja, enter a plane bound for New York, along with a litany of different characters. However, Nadja is hiding a big secret and continues to inject herself with a strange vial of liquid with a syringe. What is it? Why is she taking it? And what happens if she doesn’t?
Well, we soon find out the answers as terrorists hijack the plane. After this gripping opening act and a big reveal to boot, Blood Red Sky feels like it runs out of ideas. Instead, what we get are a conglomerate of familiar tropes and action sequences, wrapped up by exaggerated character tropes and an ending that just grinds to a halt.
What’s particularly disappointing here is how brightly this film starts too. There’s a consistent level of dread and the film does an excellent job keeping you gripped from the opening frame. And then the twist occurs and everything changes.
Now, some will love this bait and switch but in many ways it tonally jars with the story being told. Instead of the gritty, suspenseful thriller it sets itself up to be, the movie takes a detour into formulaic waters and it never looks back.
One thing this film does do right though is its visuals. The make-up and special effects in this are excellent, and the sound design in particular plays a big part in creating authenticity and atmosphere. Hats off to the production team for that, it really is fantastic.
Overall, Blood Red Sky is a tale of two halves – one suspenseful and well written and the other formulaic and predictable. While there is enough here to enjoy, one can’t help but feel this film could have been great with better editing and a tighter screenplay. In the end, Blood Red Sky bites off more than it can chew.