Saturday 7 July 2018

Shudder Saturday: It Stains The Sands Red (2016)

Directed by Colin Minihan, who also co-wrote the movie with Stuart Ortiz (you may know them better as "The Vicious Brothers"), It Stains The Sands Red has been getting generally favourable reviews and garnering some goodwill from horror movie fans. It's something a bit different, which is always welcome when it comes to a subgenre as overstuffed as the zombie movie, and it does a decent job with what must have been quite a low budget, I'd imagine. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as a lot of my genre-loving friends.

Brittany Allen plays Molly, a troubled woman who ends up walking through some desert on the outskirts of Las Vegas on her way to a small airfield. She's followed by a zombie (played by Juan Riedinger). Not a horde of zombies. Not a fast zombie. Just the one, shambling, animated corpse who won't give up. And that's basically the plot of this movie.

I can't praise Allen enough for her performance here. She carries the entire film on her shoulders, pretty much in every scene and working with a script that isn't always as strong as it could be. Nobody else has to work as hard as she does. There are some supporting cast members who havea few minutes of screentime here and there, but they're only there to make the film more bearable. For the most part, it's all down to Allen and Riedinger, and Riedinger has the much easier job (don't scowl as if you haven't already practiced your best "lead zombie" impression).

There are moments in which It Stains The Sand Red looks about to become something better, something deeper and more interesting. Moments that have Allen's character bearing a bit of her soul, worn down by the persistence of the male presence behind her until she even starts to think that he may be someone who can realise her pain (the analogy to standard relationships is obvious). But then it swerves back to be something more simplistic.

Miniham directs competently enough, although it's a shame that he doesn't show the same level of energy that was in his previous films, but his hands are tied by the script that he and Ortiz crafted. It never becomes as interesting or crazy or smart as it could be, sadly.

The film, and those who made it, should be commended for trying to do something that is a step away from the norm. It's just a shame that nobody had the confidence to keep moving further and further in that direction. This is a film made by people who initially want to wander off into new territory but then worry about losing their way, so they stay walking alongside the main road, occasionally going back on to it when they need to feel the smoother surface beneath their feet for a while as they continue towards their detination.


Americans can buy the disc here.

No comments:

Post a Comment