Red Sands

Red Sands

Red Sands (2009)

A group of soldiers destroy an ancient statue and unleash a vengeful djinn.  When the group become isolated during their mission, they slowly go mad, reliving their past sins and turning on each other with murderous results.

On their way to observe a road which is believed to be a supply route for insurgents, a group of US soldiers come across an ancient shrine.  One of the men uses a statue for target practice, shattering it and unleashing a vengeful djinn, which stalks them to the abandoned farmhouse.  A sandstorm then cuts the troops off and they lose communication with headquarters.  Tortured by strange dreams and old sins, the men slowly turn on each other.  Paranoia becomes rage as the men begin to disappear or die until a final showdown leaves one man alone with the djinn – and a terrible secret.

Good acting hides a multitude of sins, including bad CGI and a less than groundbreaking story – at its core, this just another vengeful spirit story which happens to involve belligerent thug soldiers instead of drunk and horny teenagers.  The tension is initially well-built and the subtle clues along the way all work powerfully, but it drags on and there are too many ebbs and flows instead of a slow and steady build toward the end.

It’s important to realize early on that this film is more of a psychological thriller than a true horror story.  Yes, there are a few scares, but the isolation is a stronger enemy than the djinn and the men are more of a threat to each other.  A twist at the end comes up lacking because of poor direction – revealing the twist before the “big reveal”…and so, an ending which should have been stark and startling loses its punch.  That, really, is the biggest problem with this film…much of its potential gets bogged down and lost in the sand.

 

Stars: 2.5/5

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