Gleefully mixing the best elements of films such as John Carpenter's The Thing, David Cronenberg's The Fly and Frank Darbont's The Mist, director Marvin Kren (Rammbock) brought his latest effort, The Station to the Toronto International Film Festival as an entry in the Midnight Madness Series that showcases the best in horror, thrillers, science fiction and fantasy.
The Station takes place in the remote and scenic location of the German Alps where three males, one female and a dog work tirelessly in their modest laboratory monitoring climate change through glacial reduction. On the day before a VIP from the Ministry is to visit, the researchers stumble across a glacier that is leaking a red liquid that makes the ice look as if it is bleeding. The red compound is determined to be organic and is having an effect on the local wildlife morphing ordinary creatures into modified and mutated beasts. Infections soon appear in human hosts which add to the terror and the some of the life-and-death decisions that the group must make in an effort to stay alive until help arrives in 24-hours.
Large cockroach type creatures, mutated foxes and goats and a modified bird of prey are just some of the interesting and devilishly deadly beasts that rampage upon the outpost putting human lives in jeopardy as The Station dives head first into the horror genre. And the visiting crew of six add both a sub-plot (a former love interest) and appreciated humor via actress Brigitte Kren who just happens to be the director's real-life mother.
Gore and 'yuck' moments in The Station abound and thanks to the ingenious method to which the mutations occur, there is no shortage of creatures lurking both inside and out of the shack the survivors find themselves holed-up. And director Kren seems to relish in the freedom the genre parameters allow him.
The eco-disaster backdrop has a small social commentary attached and the setting of the film all but ensures that dumb big-titted teenagers are not around to dumb down the proceedings. This all adds up to an exceptionally fun and wild ride and was a crowd-pleaser during its World Premiere at the Toronto Festival. Some too quick editing and a very ill-advised and implausible final scene keep the film from being compared to on the levels of The Thing, The Fly and The Mist instead of just referencing the titles with the lead-in 'in the vein of'.
The Station should be sought out despite the two aforementioned flaws. Hollywood doesn't make too many horror films that stay focused on the horror and the story without shoehorning sex, good-looking stars and enough sub-plots to choke a Voorhees. The Station, in contrast, stays focused in delivering the entertainment value and is likely to end up on our list of one of the Top-10 horror films when the year is clear of genre entries.
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