It Stains the Sands Red (2016)

It Stains the Sands Red
Director: Colin Minihan
Writer: Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz
Cast: Brittany AllenJuan RiedingerMerwin MondesirKristopher Higgins
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2017

The zombie apocalypse happened and only pockets of humanity remain here and there. Molly (Brittany Allen) is on her way to a safer location. But on the way there, she gets stranded in the desert. She knows she’ll have to cross it on foot. As she gets going, she realizes that one lone zombie is on her tail. It is slow, it is stupid, but contrary to her it needs no rest, sleep or water. And so the pursuit begins.

It Stains the Sands Red has many good things about it, but ultimately it didn’t convince me, mainly for two reasons: one, it was so perfectly obvious that Molly was written by men, and two, it didn’t know when to stop.

I loved the concept behind this film and even though some of Molly’s decisions were a little stupid, they did show her panic well – and panic does lead to stupid decisions, so I could deal with those decisions. The acting wasn’t bad, the music neither. And the best thing was that they used the fact that Molly menstruates for the film. More films that revolve around blood somehow should do that.

The film builds well and manages to keep the tension – until it misses the perfect exit point. If you ask me, the film should have stopped [SPOILER] when Molly drives off to get her child, and not take another zombie fight detour [/SPOILER]. Instead it continues for another 15 minutes and those 15 minutes feel very long and boring – probably because the perfect ending had come and gone by that point.

But the bigger issue was Molly. As I said, it was so perfectly clear that Molly was a female character written by men. Starting with the fact that she’s a sex worker (of course), who is seen stripping because we couldn’t possible have done without seeing her take her clothes off. But hey, she’s totally complex because she’s also a mom. Get it? A sexy mom who is conflicted about being a mom! And then, of course, she has to get raped because that’s the only possible thing that can happen to a female character. And if it’s a film that’s all about a woman alone with a zombie, well then the rapists will have to be flown in via sandstorm if necessary. And no matter what happens: she’s pretty and her eyeliner is never out of place.

All of that and I’ve not even talked about the screwed-up image of motherhood this film espouses: real mothers give everything for their children, they risk everything without any regard for themselves. If there’s still a shred of a wish for self-preservation left, well, then you’re not a real mom. And… no. Just no.

All of that meant that I just couldn’t enjoy the film as much as I would have liked and it ultimately falls flat.

Summarizing: Disappointing.

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