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It Stains the Sands Red
Colin Minihan

Locating a familiar story to a familiar setting, Colin Minihan’s It Stains the Sands Red is yet another attempt to breathe new life into the zombie apocalypse genre - unsuccessfully.

Starting off with an impressive opening shot depicting Las Vegas in smoking mayhem, we are immediately exposed to the core of the story, the menace of the undead.

Fleeing that chaos are two middling personas, Molly (Brittany Allen) and Nick (Merwin Mondesir), a couple of indifferent lowlifes driving down the threatening desert road to a remote airstrip. Things go awry as they get stuck in the middle of nowhere, risking their chances to reach the airstrip and catch the small plane reserved to take them to a safety zone.

No self-respecting horror movie wouldn’t throw some gory drama in the mix, so due to a sudden yet spineless turn of events, Molly becomes the sole survivor, at least from the living side. As if the overarching zombie outbreak and Molly’s taunting emotional baggage weren’t enough, the lead and solo protagonist is continuously stalked by a zombie making her battle for survival even more challenging, or at least that’s how it should be.

It Stains the Sands Red toys with the idea of a sinister zombie outbreak, however stretches it way too thin by hinging almost entirely on the thrill yielded from a sole survivor fighting off a rather slow zombie. Not quite the kind of narrative that justifies a 90-minute feature, although no one can blame Minihan for trying.

Despite the inspired movie title featuring “sands”, Minihan makes very little use of the compelling location and setting; a brilliant element to amplify the struggle for survival and hopelessness, which is damagingly sidelined as the story progresses. Instead, Minihan mines run-of-the-mill tropes to tell a rather overtold story.

Failing to scare as well as entertain, the story also misses its chance to redeem itself by eventually digging up a mawkish flashback, placing Molly in the center of family drama, regret and sorrow. Even though it is safe to say that this scenario is best suited for a shorter narrative format, It Stains the Sands Red is not the worst movie choice you can make and it could potentially pull in a fair number of horror fans with its odd theme and riveting title.

Maria Kriva, HMS

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