A remote frozen station of scientists discover something in the ice that first strikes their resident dog before then preying on them in all its twisted, unnatural forms.
Yeah, John Carpenter’s The Thing is great movie. And apparently the makers of Austrian horror The Station thought so, too, because that is also the premise of their movie. Unfortunately, where The Thing is indisputably a modern classic, The Station…is not.
On paper, it seems all of the ingredients are there. Our team of scientists includes all the usual types, our focus being on technician Janek (Gerhard Liebmann), a borderline alcoholic battling memories of the ex-girlfriend that left him. He is about as close to a ‘character’ as we get, the rest being pretty much just exposition-spouting machines.
When they discover the local wildlife appears to be mutating and also impregnating other wildlife to create new hybrids, it is just in time for a visit by a hard-nosed politician (Brigitte Kren – the director’s real-life Mum) who is led in by, of course, Janek’s ex-girlfriend (Edita Malovcic).
Cue a bunch of scenes of cardboard characters running away from various ill-defined creatures (mostly animatronics shot with shaky cam to – partially – hide the seams) and the odd bit of barricading in. The problem with all of this is the threat is vague and comes and goes.
For example, one character is stung and killed by a mutant flying bug, but later when a whole swarm is released in a room full of people, nobody appears to be touched. The group lock themselves in a room, but then some open the door and go for a walk without any problems.
This means the film never creates any tension at all. Combined with the lack of empathetic characters, The Station becomes just a string of attack scenes. There is some enjoyment out of guessing which crossbreed of creature will appear next, but each is so murkily shot, there is rarely a clear look. Obviously done to hide some pretty mediocre FX, it also means that there is never any real payoff.
The Station finishes up as being a painless watch, but lacks any kind of x-factor to elevate it above standard straight-to-DVD fare. Competent…and forgettable.
Director: Marvin Kren / Australia/ 2013/ Madman/ 98Mins/ 2.35:1/ Region: 4
AKA: Blood Glacier