Sand Storm in a Teacup
I like horror movies but not as much as some people and so the name of director Alex Turner meant nothing to me, in fact other than the movie stars Shane West and a small cameo from J.K. Simmons the actors meant nothing to me. Even so the synopsis of a horror story set in modern times using the real situation of troops in Afghanistan sounded quite appealing. Unfortunately the end result is not as exciting as I hoped it would be, somewhat stylishly shot but not the exciting horror movie I wanted to see.
Staff Sgt. Marcus Howston (Leonard Roberts) receives orders to take his men out to monitor a road in the middle of the desert which intel says is being used by Al Qaeda. Whilst in the middle of nowhere they stumble across an ancient statue which crumbles when one reckless soldier takes a shot at it. As the men hole up in an abandoned home a woman appears during a sandstorm who enters the house what they don't know is that the woman is in fact a shape shifting spirit called a Djinn released from the statue when they destroyed it and one by one the men end up victims of the Djinn's mystical powers.
"Red Sands" makes one huge friggin' mistake and that is to treat us to an opening which informs us something happened and the only survivor is Spc. Jeff Keller played by Shane West. It takes out so much of the surprise of the movie because then when it leaps back two weeks to the men being sent to monitor the road we already know that all but one of the people is going to die. That is not the only big mistake because when the men come across the statue one of the soldiers knows his middle eastern history and tells the other men about the legend of the Djinn which once roamed the land. It makes it seriously obvious as to what is going to happen when the statue crumbles. Which means it is a case of watching and waiting for the soldiers to end up killing each other under the spell of the Djinn.
So in a way what I am saying is that "Red Sands" is a bit pointless as you know what is going to happen. And that means to make it work it needs to grab you with a great foreboding atmosphere but unfortunately whilst director Alex Turner delivers style he certainly doesn't deliver an intriguing atmosphere. It makes it a slow and frankly quite dull movie which when you combine with predictable makes it a struggle to watch and keep involved with.
What this all boils down to is that if you like style there is a good chance you will like "Red Sands" as whilst not extravagant or fancy it has an organic look to the camera work. But for those who are attracted to watch because it is a horror will most likely end up disappointed thanks to some storyline mistakes and the slow pace.