The Sand follows a group of teenagers, who awaken from a graduation beach party, to find themselves tormented by an unseen threat. All make look normal, but if they make contact with the soft sand of the beach, they are quickly dispatched by tentacles intent on stripping the flesh from their bones. As the sun bears down upon them, can they find a way to escape the beach before the monster can drag them down to a grisly fate?

There is a clear reverence towards the B-Movie that defines The Sand. The film opens with a montage of teen excess; a handheld camera used by one of the partygoers captures the indulgence and wild activities of the party from within the camp. This scene feels both typical of modern teen cinema, playing on the image of youthful carnage, while also harkening back to the beach party culture of 50’s exploitation. However, it is in the cold light of day that the film truly begins, as the teens shake off the hangovers and find themselves facing the impossible, the film shows its exploitation teeth. There are no wasted beats, no overdevelopment of characters and build up to the monstrous presence…the horror unfolds almost instantly, and continues to develop momentum as the hazy teens attempt to discover the dimensions of the creature. The film it is most reflective of is Tremors, both in terms of the threat from beneath and playing with ways of moving across the space, and also in terms of just how much fun it is willing to have, in particular a wry knowing humour that only adds to the film’s overall charm.

The effects on display are quite clearly cheap, but luckily the film doesn’t rely on them, and for most of the film, never commits the sin of showing more than it is capable of, which creates a playful tension between seen and unseen, allowing the viewer to imagine what this creature truly is. However, towards the end of the film, the filmmakers finally give into the impulse to show more, and inevitably, the result are disappointing. Indeed, this can be seen for the film overall, as the weaker aspects of the film become more obvious, in particular an underlying romance subplot that feels unnecessary, with the love triangle it creates becoming more annoying that compelling, and threatens to taint the fun of the film as it reaches its conclusion.

While the film is propelled by streamlined momentum early, as it develops further, the novelty does begin to fade somewhat. However, there is something charming about the film; there is honesty in its excess, and its simplicity becomes its greatest asset, much like the films it pays reverence to. Ultimately, The Sand is not a film that will live long in the memory, it’s let down by a final act that highlights the film’s flaws, but if you look beyond these issues, the film is undeniably a fun distraction full of knowing humour and buoyed by the spirit of B-Movie.

 

Frightfest London review: The Sand
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980’s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: mattpaul61@o2.co.uk