by Marvin Kren
Climate change has, for several years now, become a rather topical issue. And what does cinema, for its part, do? Great witness of our times, the seventh art has also often had its say on the subject. One example is the feature film The Station – made by Marvin Kren in 2013 – a reinterpretation/tribute to John Carpenter’s famous The Thing (1982). An operation, this one, however, very risky.
Mysterious creatures in the Alps
Climate change has, for several years now, become a rather topical issue. And what does cinema, for its part, do? Great witness of our times, the seventh art has also often had its say on the subject. An interesting example is the Austrian feature film The Station – made by young Marvin Kren in 2013 – a reinterpretation/tribute to the famous The Thing, directed by John Carpenter in 1982. An operation, this one, undoubtedly very risky, given also – and above all – the comparison with Carpenter’s masterpiece. And yet, despite its numerous imperfections, Marvin Kren has nevertheless made something with its own personality. But let us go step by step.
Three scientists and a mountain guide are studying climate change at a station three thousand metres above sea level. One day the three discover, almost by chance, a glacier entirely covered in blood. This organic substance has actually come to the surface as a result of the melting of glaciers and can generate dangerous genetic mutations. Strange creatures that live in the area are proof of this.
True, Marvin Kren, for his part, has produced nothing new. And while Carpenter’s film is the first feature that comes to mind, anyone who has watched it will not fail to think of the lesser-known The Cave (made by Bruce Hunt in 2005). Not bad, though. Above all, because a work like The Station stands out mainly for the director’s use of locations, showing his ability to make full use of space and making the alpine glaciers and immense expanses of green quite claustrophobic. The same applies to the special effects: never artificial, never clumsy, the creatures born from mutation are well placed in the context, in a film that does not hesitate to show us even gruesome – and, let’s be honest, rather enjoyable – splatter scenes.
Rhythms, for their part, are perfectly helpful: a successful crescendo of suspense – present, however, already from the first minutes – is able to keep the spectator glued to the screen from beginning to end. Yet, as already anticipated, The Station is not exactly “perfect” film. And this concerns above all the screenplay, with not always well-written (although gritty and full of initiative, the figure of the Minister seems decidedly over the top) or even quite unnecessary characters (see, for example, the girl who is attacked by a flying creature), not to mention totally unrealistic final solutions.
And although The Station seems at times forced and over the top, at the end of the film we can take it for what it is: a pleasant, cinephile and nostalgic “toy” which, despite the strong, strong competition, has managed in its own way to carve out a small, decorous space for itself among the countless films made every year in Austria and abroad. An imperfect and authentic work that has on its side the ability to entertain and amuse the audience for just over an hour and a half. Unpretentiously, of course.
Original title: Blutgletscher
Directed by: Marvin Kren
Country/year: Austria / 2013
Running time: 98’
Genre: horror, sci-fi, thriller
Cast: Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Santos, Hille Beseler, Peter Knaack, Felix Römer, Brigitte Kren, Wolfgang Pampel, Murathan Muslu, Michael Fuith, Adina Vetter, Coco Huemer, Enya Haring, Jill Ann Christiano
Screenplay: Benjamin Hessler, Marvin Kren, Claudia Kolland
Cinematography: Moritz Schultheiß
Produced by: Allegro Film, Filmfonds Wien