By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
Yes, the ice bleeds in this gory, goofy Austrian take on that most irresistible of horror setups: researchers versus hellmouthed mystery beasts at the ends of the Earth.
The monsters are a scream, squishing crossbreeds that are all fur and teeth and exposed, pulsing, ready-to-burst viscera. And the screamers are a bit monstrous: The dumb scientists who want to keep these strange attacks a secret, the better to capitalize on the discovery of this new life-form boasting one of those inventively disgusting horror-flick life cycles. Less a monster but still drab is lead Janek (Gerhard Liebmann), whose fury at his ex, Tanja (Edita Malovcic), for choosing not to keep a baby he fathered, sets up a post-climax gag so wonderfully mad and grotesque that the earlier scenes of him slumping about between varmint attacks seem, retroactively, like they haven't been a waste of your time.
It's all rather familiar, but the key image of a glacier glazed over with something like gore proves majestic, and tension throbs throughout a scene of a scientist following his dog into a blood-veined tunnel inside that glacier.
But the movie belongs to the critters — these are practical effects rather than CGI, which stirs a strange feeling of warm nostalgia even as teeth rend flesh — until it's stolen even from them by late arrival Brigitte Kren, playing a stolid sexagenarian government official bashing monsters, performing emergency surgery, and twinkling with indomitable charisma, no matter how harrowed her character is or how much blood is on her face. She spits the film's one intentionally funny line with her own hellmouthed rage: "Stop eating that banana while you're crying!"
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