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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Sand (2015)





Read the plot synopsis on this one and realized that we have a movie about killer sand. The beach gets you before the monster in the ocean does. Well that seems like an interesting idea I suppose. Plus, I was bored so what the hell.

Things start off with a bunch of pretty and popular College students partying on the beach, which means I was ready for them to start dying! They get drunk, flash the camera, and generally act stupid. Then some drunk dudes find a giant weird rock looking thing and drag it to the party. The movie starts off like a found footage flick with the action being caught on a phone. Then the morning comes, and it starts being shot like a regular movie with the shaky camera phone footage idea ditched. There are just a few partygoers waking up with serious hangovers and regrets about the previous night. Just a normal day in the life of the American twentysomething. Until someone steps onto the beach that is.

All of our characters were either in a car, a lifeguard station, a bench, or in a garbage can… well it was a party. When one of them touches the sand, they get stuck and start screaming. It isn’t until another goes to help her that we see what happens. Something in the sand digests them alive. We see skin peeling off and flesh dissolving right in front of us! They need to call for help, but to keep stupid stuff off of the internet they all locked their phones in the trunk of the car, which they can’t get to. As someone who works with Millennials that isn’t such a bad idea. Not the being eaten by the killer beach, but the locking up of the phones. The rest of the movie is our survivors trying to figure out what the hell is going on and if they can escape it.

Creepy bit with the little hairs shooting out of the sand!
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. The story was interesting and unlike anything that I had seen before. There was a real mystery to the creature. What is it and where did it come from? I’ll give you a hint that the weird rock that we find out was an egg might have something to do with it. The characters could have been annoying and while there is the requisite love triangle it was mostly written and played really well. These kids aren’t going to be stupid and do their best to sort things out without dying. Still it doesn’t work out too well for them, but I liked that they were written as smart people who didn’t want to die stupidly.

The setting of the beach was perfect. There is basically one location and an easily controlled one at that. Low budget movies need to be able to shoot what they can afford to and this worked really well. Also, it was awesome to have our characters trapped right out in the open. They can see the world going about its business nearby, but between the sand and the lack of phones it doesn’t matter. The characters are trapped in the middle of civilization. I love these sorts of settings where help is right over the dune but might as well be a thousand miles away. Very cool.

Time to talk the creature. All you see until the very end are these strange hairs that reach up from the sand when flesh is near. They try and grab onto it to immediately paralyze and digest what they capture. Is this one large creature or a colony of many small ones? You don’t find out until the end, which I found entertaining. There are some hints along the way, but I still found the big reveal to be somewhat of a surprise. The creature effects and gore are all CGI, not surprising given what was likely a low budget. Honestly the kills are poorly done with bad digital effects work. But I did find the creature stuff to be better, though there are some moments at the end where it was a bit shaky.

This is going to be one of the very rare times where I’m going to recommend a monster movie with a less than stellar creature. That is how much I like the writing, characters, and general setup of the movie. This was a very clever idea that I had fun with. I recommend checking it out.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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