I know, I know, more zombies. Aren’t we all sick of this genre by now? However, before you turn away I’m very happy to say that It Stains the Sands Red takes the tired genre and gives it a different look and spin, providing some funny, original and almost endearing moments. The success of the film is in large part because of writer/director Colin Minihan and star Brittany Allen, who gives us a wonderful performance.
We meet Molly (Brittany Allen) and her scumbag boyfriend Nick (Merwin Mondesir) as they are fleeing Las Vegas after a zombie outbreak. On their way to an airfield and supposed freedom, they get stuck in the desert, attract a lone zombie and before you can say feeding time, Molly finds herself on foot, trudging through the desert with the zombie slowly at her heels.
It’s hard to imagine this as a setup for a movie but what happens next is strangely captivating and with a few twists and turns it’s even interesting. There are a few things that don’t really work for me but one of the biggest hurdles for the viewer is the fact that most, if not all, of the people in this movie are not very nice. This goes for Molly as well, who is a stripper and a really crappy mom and initially really hard to like. You see her struggling across the desert and start routing for the zombie to catch up to her and eat her already.
This is where the movie takes one of many right turns and a good one at that. Brittany Allen turns Molly into a sympathetic figure, using flashbacks and comedy to make her character become more and more human. She eventually names the zombie Smalls, which was a funny scene, and so begins a weird relationship between the two. While she continues on through the desert the zombie is her only real companion, she yells at him and talks to him like in certain ways that you almost forget he’s a zombie, unless you actually look at him. It is a strange connection these two have that seems almost plausible thanks to Allen’s great work.
Writer/director Colin Minihan moves the story forward pretty well, setting up some great moments both visually and verbally, that really turn out much better than I thought they would. However, as the writer I have a couple bones to pick with him, one concerning a very disturbing scene with two men Molly meets and the bizarre appearance of the Army. I won’t say any more than that, you can be the judge yourself, but in both instances it kind of disrupted the great rhythm of the story.
I was rather curious to how Minihan and company we’re going to end this movie and thankfully, there was no cop out here. It seemed rather fitting, after all she went through and even though it was bittersweet in a way it was still a strong way to finish.
There are a lot of things to take away from this movie, the first being that no genre or sub-genre is really ever dead as long as people like Minihan keep coming along to put a new and different spin on things. Also, Brittany Allen was excellent and had to be as her character Molly is in almost every scene and has to carry a lot of the film by herself, which is by design, while having only a single zombie as company. While the movie wasn’t perfect it was interesting, unsettling and well thought out and I recommend you check it out, especially if you love zombies.
Four out of five stars.
- Brittany Allen is terrific and very believable as Molly
- Solid story and direction, with a nice sense of humor
- From the zombies to scenery, this film looks good
- The scene with Molly and her two 'rescuers' was disturbing and probably not necessary
- No idea what the scene with the Army was all about