Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

It Stains the Sands Red

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be a novel take on the Zombie genre left, along comes a film like this.

As I’ve noted before, the zombie apocalypse provides the perfect flexible scaffolding upon which to build whatever kind of story you want to tell. George Romero, the master and creator of the genre used this framework to create films that examined the cultural zeitgeist of his times. They were nightmarish reflections of society showing us what we, in a panicked state of fear, are capable of. It wasn’t pretty.

This movie tells an entirely different story – the cast is essentially one woman being pursued by a single male zombie through the Nevada desert. It is a female coming of age story, and the dynamic between the zombie and the woman morphs in surprisingly emotional ways. Kudos to both actors for turning in complex and layered performances.

Brittany Allen is powerfully authentic as a broken young woman discovering her maternal instincts and personal strength as the story progresses, and Juan Reidinger imbues the zombie with a humanity that reminded me of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster or Billy Connelly as “Fido,” in another essential zombie film. It’s no small feat to imbue a zombie with pathos, but this actor pulls off quite a magic trick.

Beautifully directed by Colin Minihan, the film is stunningly gorgeous to watch.

Masterpiece? No, not exactly. Just a beautifully made original film, shot on location with incredible cinematography, capturing fully realized performances of an original script. Most importantly, it draws you in, engaging you fully with an unpredictable story.

Works for me!