#31in31 2019 – “It Stains the Sands Red”

“Bet you were a real ladies man before this; you obviously enjoy the chase!”

Story: A woman named Molly and her boyfriend (don’t get attached) hightail it out of Vegas when the zombie outbreak happens. They’re making their way to an airfield that’ll take them to an island. Nice idea. But their car gets stuck on the road to nowhere. Bad idea. Soon the woman trades her living boyfriend for a shiny (bloody) new zombie that’s just as attached. Maybe more so. Will she make it to the airfield on foot, through 36 miles of desert? That zombie is hoping she won’t.

Scares: Not a lot, this film is more like a character study with lots of dark humor.

Splat factor: Zombies like guts.

Closing scene “shocker”?: No.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Original.

Trick or Treat?: Damn this is the good stuff. A quality zombie film that uses the apocalypse to fuel one woman’s hero’s journey (of sorts). I really like that this film has a twist on the typical Final Girl; Molly snorts cocaine, drinks, and used to be a stripper. While she’s not a genius, she’s nobody’s fool either. Using what she’s got – a dump purse full of bottled water and assorted crap, plus her (chemically enhanced) body, and a zombie that won’t stop following her – she manages to outwit him in amusing ways. But Molly’s genuinely scared as well, regardless of the dry, dark jokes she cracks at the zombie’s expense. But over the hours, days and nights in the desert, she bonds with zombie “Smalls”.

How’s that z following her when she starts out so far ahead of him, you ask? Because it’s that time y’all. And she’s been leaving…oh let’s call them markers. Yep. This is a zombie movie that gets real y’all. Filmmakers The Vicious Brothers (writer Stuart Ortiz and writer/director Colin Minihan) pull no punches in this story. You thought things got dark in The Walking Dead? Oh you sweet summer child. These Brothers show you how to get dark.

While there’s a lot of humor here, as Molly passes time slogging through the desert by picking on Smalls, her badass persona chips away, and she harks back to her days before she became who she is now. Flashbacks show how she went from wife and mother with a “normal” life, to riding with an actual gangster.

Yes, there’s the usual “the living can be just as scary as the living dead” scene. And of course things don’t get tied up in a perfect bow. But our heroine isn’t perfect either, so it works beautifully. Kudos to Brittany Allen and Reidinger for their all-in performances as Molly and Smalls. And a tip of the hat to The Vicious Brothers for creating such a thoughtful, fascinating story. With zombies.

Score: 5 out of 5 pumpkins.

This entry was posted in 31 in 31, In Horror, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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