I will say this from the beginning – I am a fan of zombie films. With the ability to create new zombies from the bodies of their victims, this particular breed of monster is perhaps the most destructive of them all. We never hear about mummy apocalypses, do we? It is kind of ironic that zombies are portrayed as so destructive on a global scale because individually they are not typically much of a threat. This is why zombie film tend to show hordes of the beasts overcoming desperate human survivors. It Stains the Sands Red is a different type of movie. This is a story that mostly focuses on a singular zombie pursuing a fleeing victim.
It is not as if there isn’t a zombie apocalypse in It Stains the Sands Red. The movie opens with an establishing shot of Las Vegas in smoke. The viewer is then taken further out in the desert where a drunk and coked-out young woman named Molly (Brittany Allen) is accompanying her boyfriend in his car. A common trope in horror flicks is observed as his car’s tires gets stuck in the sand and as luck would have it, the phone reception is practically non-existent at their location. After bickering with her boyfriend for a bit, Molly notices a strange figure staggering along the road…
That figure, as you would expect, is a zombie and he sets his sights on the couple. It should be pointed out that the characters actually do reasonably intelligent things considering their situation. Their car is stuck so they try to call someone. When they realize this walking dead thing is going to attack them the boyfriend tries to shoot it. Molly spends the night in the car where the zombie cannot get to her. Molly eventually realizes she cannot stay in the middle of the desert forever so she gathers her supplies and begins trekking across the desert with her zombie pursuer close behind. It seems that the zombie is attracted to the scent of her menstrual cycle.
The two are able to checkmate each other. Molly is intelligent and can adapt to the terrain around her. The zombie (played by Juan Riedinger) does not have the intelligence to overcome obstacles in his path but he is tireless. Molly could fall asleep on a high rock and be fairly safe but when she wakes up she will see the zombie pressed against the rock trying to get to her.
At first Molly taunts the zombie and despite the grimness of her situation, seems somewhat amused by him. She names the zombie “Smalls” (a reference to the supposed size of his genitalia) and even remarks that Smalls is similar to lots of guys she has met – they simply won’t take no for an answer and insist on pursuing her.
Over time Molly starts having one-sided conversations with Smalls and it seems that she has a secret that she does not want to confront. In a weird way, her relationship with Smalls is helpful to her. Molly becomes more self reliant and is forced to go without booze and cocaine during her journey. Brittany Allen carries most of the film. That is no slight against Riedinger’s acting skills; it’s just that his character expresses himself with grunts, growls and lunges so the story relies on Molly.
My biggest criticism of the film is the ending. Molly’s character had already reached her peak. She confronts her past and makes a decision she couldn’t handle before… and then the movie inexplicably turns into an action flick. The ending feels so out of place with the rest of the film and tacked on that I am forced to wonder if this was added at the insistence of marketing executives.
The ending and a couple of logic problems in the script not withstanding, It Stains the Sands Red is an enjoyable zombie movie. I will warn you that there is a scene of sexual assault during a particularly dark moment of the film but if you can accept that then I recommend you check this one out.