There's much to like about Colin Minihan's new zombie film, It Stains the Sands Red. There's Brittany Allen's portrayal of the lead character, Molly -- level-headed enough to grab plenty of water at the outset of an unexpected trek across the desert, but so gripped by her vices that she also snags her vodka and cocaine. There's her pursuer, a tireless shambler she nicknames "Smalls" (Juan Riedinger), with his tattered suit and ravenous, blood-caked snarl, whom Molly eventually begins to regard less as an immediate threat and more as just another asshole she can't get rid of, in a life that has probably been full of them. Then there's the spareness of the action. Undead hordes are distilled down to one woman vs. one zombie, recontextualizing the apocalypse on a personal scale: Molly doesn't know who Smalls was, but she knows he was somebody. While certainly flawed, Molly is compassionate and resourceful, and worth rooting for. As is the film itself: What could have been a wordless slog is inventive and even buoyant, as Molly crosses the baked Nevada landscape. And then, like a dog turd lurking in the middle of a jelly doughnut, a needless, brutal rape scene poisons the whole experience.
Colin MinihanBrittany Allen, Juan Riedinger, Merwin MondesirColin Minihan, Stuart OrtizMPI Media Group