Saturday, August 05, 2017

'It Stains the Sands Red' Is Mediocre, but It Does Put a Ridiculous but Interesting Spin on the Genre

As a zombie film, It Stains the Sands Red opts for a minimalist premise: after the onset of a zombie apocalypse, a Las Vegas party girl (Brittany Allen) has to travel through the desert while a lone zombie pursues her.  And, oh, “it stains the sands red” doesn’t necessarily mean what it’s expected to mean.  Coming into the movie, you will never guess what “it” is.

(SPOILER) The woman, whose name is Molly by the way, has her period, and she’s out of tampons.  It is what’s allowing the zombie to easily track her, and it is what’s staining the sands red as she flees across the desert.  Her destination: an airstrip where she hopes she’ll catch a flight towards a zombie-free island.
The movie takes things slow.  And I mean slow.  The zombies in this universe – or, at least, this particular one pursuing Molly – are apparently the slow walking kind.  Thus, Molly doesn’t necessarily need to run.  She walks, while the zombie, whom she eventually named “Smalls”, walks unthreateningly behind her.  It’s hilarious.  The whole thing reminds me of the setup of the funny short film The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon (it’s in Youtube).  If it isn’t for the fact that Smalls is not bothered by the heat, thirst, and exhaustion as Molly is, there’s really no sense of peril.  It even gets to the point where Molly manages to make Smalls function like her own “pack mule.”

Yes, this is incredibly ridiculous, but it’s also a novel spin.  The dynamic enables the narrative to take a “character study” route, as Molly rants to Smalls, treating him as if he embodies every man that has hit on her, fleshing her character out in the process.
This is basically the meat of the movie.  But there are also plot points here and there that send the story somewhere else.  At one instance, Molly meets some other traveling human survivors, in which she learns zombies may not be the only sinister things to watch out for during a zombie apocalypse.  Also, by the third act, Molly manages to do some zombie-butt-kicking action as well.

Objectively, It Stains the Sands Red is pretty mediocre.  It has clever ideas, yes, but the tone is all over the place and the script is mostly dumb.  Particularly, the heartfelt “bond” that developed between Molly and Smalls could have worked if it did the “Tom Hanks and Wilson” thing in Cast Away.  However, the turn it took doesn’t make sense.
Still, the interesting stuff that this movie has is probably enough to make it worth watching, especially to genre fans who want to see something new.

No comments: