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The Sand (2015)

'The Sand' is a 2015 direct to video Lovecraftian creature feature, that was shot over the course of twelve days and voted one of the top five monster movies on the 'SYFY Channel', right behind 'Piranha 3D'. Now, to be beaten on a ranking list by 'Piranha 3D' is not a badge of honour I personally would like to wear. So, let's take a deep dive and see how bad I'm genuinely expecting this movie to be.

Considering its short 80 minute runtime, I was grateful that it wastes no time in getting straight into the action. Starting of with a brief introduction to the necessary characters and the reason why there are in this location, with the small piece of added exposition that later gives a valid reason as to why none of these characters have their phones. And in fairness, that is all the set up needed for this basic premise, as the next morning after an alcohol fueled Spring Break party the sand beneath their feet isn't quite what it seems, as one by one their numbers start to diminish at the hands of another worldly entity that has landed on the shoreline.

Unfortunately, the cast is extremely underwhelming. These uninteresting spoiled teens that we are expected to invest our time into are so poorly written and oozing with painful dialogue. And even worse than the writing, the casts delivery of every line is almost to the point of unbearable. Each and every one of them would find themselves right at home amongst movies you would more commonly find on the early 00's 'SYFY Channel'. Brooke Butler who plays the main focus final girl, Kaylee, is the biggest culprit of this. Her overall screen presence isn't strong enough to carry a TV advert, let alone a full feature length production. I really struggled to show any empathy towards her character based solely on the terrible performance she delivers as an actress delivers.

I can appreciate that this is clearly a low budget production, but the CGI is quite possibly some of the worst I've seen in recent years. And considering this came out in 2015, I've seen mobile phones that can create better rendered effects than what this production company managed to deem satisfactory in post-production. As many of the character fall victim to "the sand", the movement of the sand as they start to be consumed by it is genuinely laughable. It is so glaringly obvious, that rather than focusing on the action playing out on screen, your eyes are immediately drawn to the terribly rendered effects work.

I think what's most disappointing about 'The Sand', is that the overall concept of this movie is rather intriguing. And, given the right execution I strongly believe that this would be a genuinely solid survival horror movie. That's not to say it wasn't entertaining in that "so-bad-it's-good" kind of way. I just think a higher production value and a much stronger cast would have made this one of those movies to remember. As it is though, this is instantly forgettable, but worth a mindless watch nonetheless.



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