At first glance, It Stains the Sands Red plays like a fun, silly, admirably low budget zombie flick. Fans of independent film will no doubt appreciate the innovative primary setup – one girl, one zombie, one desert. Two actors and an endless location with nobody to bother you about permits and paperwork. Genius way to utilize what you’ve got rather than emphasizing what you don’t. The sort of thing born out of treating certain limitations as a challenge to work within creative constraints.
Now a very slow chase, (classic, true Romero style staggering moaning and groaning undead) through a desert may not sound too exciting. But our final girl is an unlikely sort – a Vegas party girl with a nose for coke and vodka. Without giving anything away, her backstory lends itself to an interesting character arc and takes us slightly below the surface of what the film appears to be.
Countless arguments have ensued that slow zombies are not scary. I vehemently refuse that idea. The terror in zombie movies lays in the hopelessness and helplessness of the situation. Sure, humans may be faster. But the undead can outlast and tend to eventually outnumber. In the throws of the beginning of a zombie apocalypse, surviving not only the natural elements of an expansive desert with limited resources is rough enough. Throw in a stalking predator that never tires and never stops, no matter how slow moving, is a pretty terrifying concept. The film has some larger set pieces down the line, but the bulk of it is a slow chase through the desert as we learn more about our protagonist.
Is it spectacular? Not necessarily. Is it fun? Sure. Is it entertaining? Yes. Ample amounts of gross out factor? Fair amount. One scene in particular which I will not spoil, but you’ve most likely already heard about. Is there lots to appreciate? Again, yes. Don’t expect it to get crazy deep, all I’m saying is it’s more than I expected and that was appreciated. Give it a watch. It’s fun.