Of all the surprises lobbed by Blood Red Sky, the biggest one is that the audacious conceit holds from ominous start to explosive finish.

The mostly German-language Netflix movie is equal parts hostage thriller, family bonding drama and horror film. A forewarning is provided by the woman referred to as “Mom” in the subtitles. She appears ill and ill at ease. She never lets her precocious son Elias out of her sight, and hangs on to him for dear life when terrorists hijack the plane that is taking them from Germany to the US.

A secret weapon is on board, which doesn’t only challenge the hijackers but also our confirmation biases and notions of evil and monstrosity. Without giving any spoilers away – the film has to be seen to be believed – suffice it to say that director Peter Thorwarth conjures up a nail-biting gorefest that leaves nearly every corner of the plane splattered by the end of 121 minutes.

Written by Thorwarth and Stefan Holtz, the film smoothly balances mayhem with tenderness. Superb central performances by Peri Baumeiseter as the woman and Carl Anton Koch as Elias anchor a film that plays with perception and expectation every step of the way.

The moving relationship between mother and son results in several heart-tugging scenes amidst the heart-stopping suspense. If Mom is utterly believable in her anguish, Elias is equally convincing as the pure-hearted son whose unstinting love and dedication create a solid emotional core among the scares.

Blood Red Sky (2021). Courtesy Netflix.