Perhaps the creators couldn’t decide which film to make, in which case, they made both.
The first is a fairly traditional zombie shocker which introduces a series of novelties later in it’s run, as Molly (Brittany Allen) attempts to evade, and in some ways reconcile, with her lonely pursuer across the Nevada desert. The other, inherently tied to the lead’s gender and how those she encounters perceive and engage with her, all of whom, including her undead attacker, are male; turns ultimately on Molly’s relationship with her unseen infant son, perhaps lost to the zombie horde.
Foiling her foe as she traipses across the sand only steps ahead of Molly’s relentless if encumbered stalker, some of the sparing moments where she deftly manages to outwit or even use his static state to her advantage with the limited resources she has at her disposal bear the hallmarks of what, had these ideas been fleshed out, could have been a more memorable horror flick. Unfortunately, with the exception of this and Allen’s doggedly persevering performance, carrying much of what appeal the film has on her shoulders, the positives stop there.
One particular ploy for overcoming the monster early on, one interpretation from which the film could be said to take its name, speaks to the less than considered and altogether perfunctory manner in which the feature’s largest and overarching thematic thread is handled, in respect of the zombie itself manifesting as an ill-established nor satisfactorily explored repartee with the creature. Spelling out one thematic intent in dialogue word for word as Molly confronts her attacker in what otherwise could have served as not unwelcome subtext does not help matters.
This slapdash method for handling the film’s events more problematic still following a later encounter on a highway, the repercussions and impact of this chapter are, to say the least, neglectfully handled and as quickly forgotten, inattentively serving a plot strand of significant consequence which is debatably if at all addressed.
The ending, if perhaps intended as a realisation of the film’s schlocky roots, plays strongest instead to the redemption narrative evident in like fare but here less than considered as it pertains to the limited picture of Molly’s parenting and what else we know about her, exploring concepts that merit much greater introspection than the hurried treatment they regretfully receive.
It Stains The Sands Red played at the Sydney Underground Film Festival