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It Stains the Sands Red (2016)

'It Stains the Sands Red" is such a simple yet effective premise. Usually when imagining a zombie apocalypse and the threat of the living dead, it would consist of the relentless incoming of mass hordes of zombies and not an individual zombie that would pose threat or concern. This film takes that predictable narrative and turns it on its head, effectively condensing an already established idea of what this genre should be and creative a more un

ique, terrifying element to the orthodox story of zombies. Director Colin Minihan does an impressive job with the cinematography here. As a director with over 100 music videos to his name on his IMDB page, his experience shows here. Featuring some quick camera changes, intertwining flashback and dream sequences throughout shows us the type of cinematography you would commonly find from someone with an extensive music video background. Taking place in the Nevada Dessert provides an opportunity to utilise some excellent long panning landscape shots that Minihan certainly takes full advantage of. I thought this film looked visually stunning. As mentioned earlier, this is a simple premise with an even simpler cast list. Featuring primarily two actors throughout - lead protagonist Molly, played by Brittany Allen, and zombie antagonist Smalls, played by Juan Riedinger. Allen's acting doesn't get off to the best of starts here, with the first 15 minutes having me question if I could tolerate her performance for the full runtime. However, once the story kicks into gear she grows as an actress delivering a fantastic performance worthy of any final girl in horror. The biggest surprise to me was the relationship that unfolds between the characters of Molly and Smalls, starting off at such polar opposites to each other and ultimately coming together throughout their journey. There is one particular scene that is very uncomfortable to watch, yet, given the the situation the population had found itself in, I don't doubt for one second that this is a very likely scenario. I really hate sexual violence in films and although it has significance, story relevance and impacted the character development throughout, it could have been suggested and not shown, in my opinion. As with most zombie films, you would likely expect to be inundated with blood, guts and gore throughout. Let me just say that this is not that kind of zombie film, and it really doesn't need to be. Although there are moments of great practical effects to warrant its place highly amongst some of the greats of the subgenre, this is more of a character driven story than anything else. This story focused plot is something I found this film to greatly succeed at and a breath of fresh air in a currently rather stagnant subgenre. This has received less than favorable reviews online and for the life of me I can't seem to understand why. 'It Stains the Sands Red' is a very welcomed addition to the zombie genre and should be a perfect example to all film makers that a fresh idea is something that this genre craves over remakes, reimaginings and continuous revisits to already established franchise. I have been aware of this film for some time and I'm only disappointed I didn't give this film the time it deserves sooner.



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