What Is Blood Red Sky, the German Horror Movie That’s No. 1 on Netflix?

It’s “Die Hard on a plane,” but John McClane is a vampire.

a woman crouches above a prone man's body
Vampires on a plane! Stanislav Honzik for Netflix

If you’ve spent any time on Netflix this week, you may have noticed a movie called Blood Red Sky sitting comfortably in the No. 1 slot of the streaming service’s Top 10. “What is that?” you may have asked yourself. “I have never heard of this movie before, and yet it’s the most popular movie on Netflix? And is that a vampire in the thumbnail, or a zombie?”

To help demystify things, we watched the movie for you, and have put together the answers to every question you may have about the German horror thriller that has taken Netflix by (blood red) storm.


OK, so what is Blood Red Sky?

As simply as possible: Vampires on a plane.

What’s the non-simple answer?

A woman named Nadja (Peri Baumeister) and her young son Elias (Carl Anton Koch) board a plane from Germany to New York. Nadja is suffering from vampirism, as one does, and is traveling in the hopes that a doctor in New York will be able to treat her. However, the flight is hijacked by a group of terrorists, and Nadja and her vampire strength become the passengers’ prime asset against them.


So what this movie presupposes is … what if vampires were good?

Sort of! As it turns out, vampirism is pretty hard to control, and one of the more sadistic hijackers, once he realizes what’s going on, turns himself into a vampire, too, so there are then good vamps and bad vamps.


Wait, how does he turn himself into a vampire?

He manages to get some of her blood, and injects it into his own bloodstream. It isn’t that Nadja is turning people into vampires willy-nilly.

And the passengers are cool with all of this?

Well, not really. They’re all afraid of Nadja and initially attempt to kill her. Plus, there’s the added complication that the hijackers have framed a couple of Muslim passengers as terrorists, meaning that the government believes something entirely different is going on.

How does the government figure into this if they’re on a plane the whole time?

The movie starts in media res—the plane has landed, and the government officials refuse to believe that there’s something supernatural going on. There are a lot of flashbacks.


What about, you know, the sun? Won’t light be coming in through the plane windows?


Well, the flight is at night, and then, to get to and from the flight, when it might be light out, Nadja conveniently also has some vampire suppressant medication she stole from the vampire family who originally turned her.

Vampire family? So there are just vampires everywhere?

This is unclear, but they are not out in the world, True Blood-style—nobody believes that they exist until they actually confront them.

How scary is it? I like those Scaredy Scale things you guys do, because there are some horror movies I just can’t take.

Medium scary. There’s a lot of blood, but not too much gore, and so much of the action either takes place in the dark or is so choppily edited that it’s not hard to watch.


Is it fun? It sounds pretty fun.

The premise is great, but I would say that the execution is only so-so. The flashbacks to why Nadja became a vampire throw off the pacing. But if you’re looking for something to zone out to on Netflix that has at least a few twists and turns, this isn’t a bad option.

Last question. Has anything like this ever reached the top of Netflix’s charts before?

Yes! As we’ve noted before, Netflix has had some major successes with genre imports like the French series Lupin (which also hit No. 1) and the Spanish series Money Heist (which is one of Netflix’s most popular series ever), not to mention Below Zero, the Spanish action movie that is similarly about a sort of hijacking—although in that case it’s a carjacking instead of a planejacking, plus there are no vampires. Put that together with the fact that nearly half of Netflix’s Top 10 right now is vampire movies, thanks to Twilight (not to mention that No. 3 is the supernatural airplane thriller Manifest), and maybe it shouldn’t a surprise to see Blood Red Sky on top after all.