After I watched THE SAND, I trekked around the Web a bit to see what other people thought about it. I personally loved it; the film embodies every single thing that attracts me to creature-features. Interestingly, however, reviews from other sources are pretty mixed. I’m not sure what these folks were expecting, but you can’t go into a movie like THE SAND and expect an Academy Award Winner. You have to take films like this for what they are: simple, gory fun. If you enjoy films like these (as I do), then you’re in for a real treat here.
If you are not familiar with THE SAND, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Monarch Home Entertainment:
After a raging all-night party, a group of hung over twenty-somethings rise to a beating sun and a carnivorous beach that devours anything with a heartbeat.
The premise of this film is so simple, and yet that is part of what makes it so much fun. There’s no big setup, no elaborate plan that has to fall into place. Just a party on the beach that results in fatal consequences.
THE SAND is shot well and looks like a bigger-budget picture onscreen. The single set location allows the story to progress quickly without the need to highlight the differences in locales. I greatly enjoy films that can pack so much intensity and terror into one physical spot, such as DEVIL (in the elevator), FROZEN (the Anchor Bay horror flick set on the ski-lift, NOT the Disney version), and PONTYPOOL.
The acting in THE SAND is pretty good, although I have to confess some of the casting decisions surprise me. For example, Hector David Jr, who plays Vance, has been in several incarnations of the popular Power Rangers franchise. Also, the likable every-guy Mitch is played by Disney-series alum Mitchel Musso, who fans will recognize from HANNAH MONTANA and PAIR OF KINGS. These are not bad casting choices, as everybody does a great job with their roles…however it is interesting to see these guys in roles outside of kids’ shows.
The special effects are really the only negative aspect of THE SAND, and they are not really that bad. They don’t look crappy, however it is very obvious in many scenes that they are computer generated. As I’ve said before in previous reviews, I understand budget constraints can force a production crew to shy away from practical effects…however, they should be a primary focus for a horror film. Still, the effects in THE SAND look decent enough and are very passable.
THE SAND is a win for me, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good creature-feature. This lower-budget gem is a lot of fun, and it would make a great addition to your Halloween viewing.