Cast: Jamie Kennedy, Mitchel Musso, Meagan Holder, Nikki Liegh, Dean Geyer.
Released: 13 October (USA)
Reviewed by: Stu Greenfield
B- Movies have long been a popular genre with horror fans. These budget films became popular specifically within the late 60’s and early 70’s, with production companies such as New World Pictures and New Line Cinema bringing B movies to mainstream cinemas for midnight showings. Since then the B-Movie has grown into its own genre, with multiple sub genres. Modern day cinema often tries to replicate these cult films and the Film4 FrightFest film The Sand does just that.
The Sand focuses on a group of twenty somethings who go to a bitchin’ beach party and get wasted. When they wake up on the beach the next morning there is no one around, save for a portly gentlemen stuck in a metal barrel. Their hangovers are the least of their worries as it becomes apparent that the beach has turned carnivorous. If they touch the sand, they get eaten. Now they have to figure out a way of getting off the beach without becoming beach breakfast.
Isaac Gabaeff, who prior to this has been involved with props on films such as The Amazing Spiderman 2, Beyond The Pines and Men In Black 3, has given this film a definite B-Movie atmosphere. All the conventions such as scantily clad girls, epic screams and an outlandish plot with some well-placed humorous touches are evident. Elements of teen horror and creature features are evident with a plot that can be likened to Tremors (ever play ‘the floor is lava’ as a kid?) or the ridiculousness of Sharknado.
The Sand recognises this though, this is exactly what the film aspires to be, a homage to the cult classic B-Movie genre. The film displays its low budget styling and low quality effects like a badge of honour. The atmosphere that it projects harks back to films like Piranha or Attack of The Killer Tomatoes, and this is not a negative criticism.
The performances from the cast are in keeping with the style of the film. They are not the most emotionally infused character portrayals that the big screen has ever seen but they mesh well with the overall style of The Sand. From the blood curdling screams that the buxom, near naked girls emit to the comic relief provided by Jamie Kennedy (known for his part in teen horror classic Scream) as the disbelieving, pun loving policeman.
What is different, however, is the gender politics. The writers Alex Greenfield and Ben Powell have mixed it up and those characters you would expect to survive perish, and those that are traditionally there to be looked at are the ones that devise the plan that helps them live. In terms of writing, the scripting is typical and clichéd, but again this is part of the convention of the B-Movie and it feels natural for the film.
The Sand is a simple yet effective film that is both funny and gory. The required blood splatters and body parts are evident, as are the giggles. The film will definitely have a niche market, as any low budget B-movie styled film will, but there are enough familiar conventions to make this film enjoyable.