'The Station' Review: Marvin Kren's Mediocre

There's not much novelty to this routine mutant-monster-menace outing from 'Rammbock' director Martin Kren.

After several shorts, Austrian helmer Martin Kren got horror fans’ attention with 2010’s hourlong “Rammbock,” a sufficiently offbeat and character-focused spin on the zombie-siege formula. He makes a competent transition to full feature length with “The Station,” but this time there’s not much novelty to regular collaborator Benjamin Hessler’s more routine mutant-monster-menace script. Set at a climate-research center high in the Alps, the pic hits a pitch of hysteria about halfway through, and unfortunately stays on that plane to diminishing effect until the end. Some theatrical sales are likely, but wider exposure will come via home formats.

Crusty technician Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) has signed on four years in a row at this isolated outpost, presumably still in retreat from a wounding breakup with a scientist once posted there. When a mysterious red tincture is discovered on a nearby glacier, it turns out to contain unique organisms that can infect multiple hosts, resulting in highly unpleasant, predatory “hybrid creatures.” As this news is settling in, a government minister (Brigitte Kren) is hiking in (from a helicopter drop point) as a publicity op, accompanied by an entourage including Janek’s ex, Tanja (Edita Malovcic). By the time they arrive — or what’s left of them —all hell has broken loose.

There are no original ideas here (“The Thing” being the most obvious inspiration), and there’s no time to develop any interesting character nuances or dynamics before the general panic, yelling and infighting start. The ending is downright silly, with a last rote “gotcha!” moment to further sour the deal. Packaging is sharp enough, but having now proven he can make an acceptable commercial feature, Kren needs to re-establish that he’s got something to offer beyond ordinary B-horror tropes with his next project.

Toronto Film Review: 'The Station'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 11, 2013. Running time: 97 MIN. Original title: "Blutgletscher"

Production

(Austria) An Allegro Film production. (International sales: Rezo, Paris.) Produced by Helmut Grasser.

Crew

Directed by Marvin Kren. Screenplay, Benjamin Hessler. Camera (color, HD, windscreen), Moritz Schultheiss; editor, Daniel Prochaska; music, Stefan Will, Marco Dreckkotter; production designer, Alexandra Maringer; costume designer, Hanya Barakat; creature design, Tomak; sound (Dolby Digital), Dietmar Zuson; sound designers, Nils Kirchhoff, Philipp Kemptner; assistant director, Martin Kirchner; casting, Nicole Schmied.

With

Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Hille Besler, Peter Knaack, Felix Romer, Brigitte Kren, Wolfgang Pampel, Murathan Muslu, Michael Fuith, Adina Vetter, Coco Huener.

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