Firstly, the title absolutely does not fit the movie’s tone. It would be better suited to a chilling biopic of a ruthless Saudi oil baron or a Korean revenge thriller rather than a small horror with a small cast, all of whom are trashier than the film’s lone zombie. Secondly, I kinda don’t care, because the ‘It’ in It Stains the Sands Red is actually referring to the main character’s period. And I call ‘disgustingly brilliant’ on that.
If it’s anything like mine, Molly (Brittany Allen) would be doubled over in the foetal position, staining the desert with a blood flow to rival the elevators in The Shining, and then the movie would be over, but at least the zombies would get a nice marinade. So props to her for soldiering on, especially after she’s just seen her offensively ghetto boyfriend zombie-bitten into no longer delivering cringingly bad dialogue.
Molly shows some early initiative by pulling out a suitably sopping tampon – her last – and distracting the same zombie with a game of fetch, but she never seems to stay more than six paces away from her undead pursuer, who she repeatedly likens to the various creeps she’s met in bars. It’s all a bit ham-fisted, but difficult to avoid if the conversations are one-sided, despite Juan Redlinger doing his dead best to effuse character through Smalls’s (short for ‘small dick’) acres of delightful Romero-esque makeup and contact lenses.
Every character is aware that zombies exist and that this is in the throngs of the apocalypse. Just in case the audience forgets the latter, we’re reminded that social rules definitely don’t apply to the weaker sex with the injection of a predictable, boring rape scene, perpetrated by two dudes who took dialogue coaching lessons from the bad guys in every TMNT movie (“I’m next!” one barks at her, just seconds after trying to discourage his friend from pulling down his pants).
The film is better when Molly and Smalls work off each other; this life-and-death odd couple is wickedly fun to watch. Flashbacks of a son Molly left behind cheaply give her a bit of sympathy and motivation for when she becomes bizarrely protective of Smalls’s well-being. But for a genre that stacks a character’s decisions against the audience rooting for them, it starts to become irrelevant whether or not Molly survives by the film’s rather rushed ending.
Director Colin Minihan‘s It Stains the Sands Red is playing at FrightFest 2017.