Sand And Deliver [Review: The Sand]

It begins with a a group of students. It's always a group of students. How are there any students still living anywhere? These students have a spring break beach party that they think was pretty wild, although the evidence suggests otherwise, and wake up to find the beach deserted and themselves surrounded by an existential threat - anything living that makes contact with the sand itself leads to a sticky end. There's a lot of screaming. Seagulls die. And those students have to justify their 2:1 degrees and use their brains to escape.

I've seen a fair number of low-budget horror movies over the course of my life. This has got to be one of the low-budgetiest I've ever come across. It's actually quite an achievement to come up with a threat that has so little visual impact, much of the time all you ever see are tiny disturbances whipping up from the sand. The actors have to do the hard work, mostly by gurning and screaming, and the screaming in this movie is good quality, reminiscent of those old-school Doctor Who days. Brooke Butler could well have made it as an old-school Doctor Who companion, although I think any of the new batch would have kicked her ass.

This movie fails when it tries anything ambitious - with a fairly low setting of ambitious. The gruesome death scenes are not great, and as soon as the nature of the creature even starts to become apparent, the quality of the effects drops off and the creature effects towards the end are fairly limited. If only they'd had more faith in their original concept. Early on there's a suggestion that the sand-thing might be intelligent - it's able to manipulate surfboards and other physical objects to try to tip the humans over into its zone of influence. That's an idea that could have been developed further and could actually have been more threatening. Similarly, there's a subplot - goodness, what did those naughty students actually do the night of the party? No. Don't care.

This movie was fun in places, with the occasional scene that works really well, and some decent performances making the most of a very basic script, but overall it felt like watching Tremors but without the graboids, the pole-vaulting or the Bacon.

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