IT STAINS THE SANDS RED (2016) Reviews and overview

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It Stains the Sands Red is a 2016 American horror feature film directed by Colin Minihan (What Keeps You Alive; Extraterrestrial; Grave Encounters and sequel) from a screenplay co-written with Stuart Ortiz (aka The Vicious Brothers). The movie stars Brittany Allen, Juan Riedinger, and Merwin Mondesir.


In the throes of a zombie apocalypse, a troubled woman from Las Vegas with a dark past, finds herself stranded in the desert with a lone and ravenous zombie…


Director Minihan understands audience’s expectation and uses that to wheedle viewers into an appropriate state of mind before scaring the living sh*t out of them […] ISTSR is thrilling, fascinating, groundbreaking and deserves a wider audience than its marketing might find it. It’s a remarkable work for film fans in general, as well as being one of the greatest zombie movies ever made.” HeyUGuys


“For a film with “sands” in the title, Minihan makes very little use of the unique location on a narrative level. He doesn’t pitch the film as the natural survival story with zombies it could have been. Instead, he mines classic tropes with a thoroughly modern twist and brings a fresh dose of social commentary back to the zombie genre, even if that element is sidelined as the film progresses.” Bloody Disgusting

“Allen brings heart and soul to an unusually well written role (the significance of the tin can she carries around is as moving as any straight drama this year), while Reidinger offers subtle nuance and humanity in the finest zombie performance since Howard Sherman’s Bub in Day of the Dead. Although there’s not a false note in the whole movie, it’s the two-hander at its core that you will remember the most.” Horror Screams Video Vault


” …this viewer wished for at least one decent, honest character on-screen. There were none. Action was reduced to a prolonged chase sequence. And, true conflict only emerged near the later half of the film. Also, you will need to prepare for a number of sadder scenes as Molly treats one undead much like a child, or a pet dog.” 28 Days Later Analysis 

“Some people are led down unconventional, undesirable paths, but it’s never too late to make amends.  That’s the theme behind It Stains the Sands Red which makes it transcend its subgenre and become something so much more. At this moment in time, It Stains the Sands Red is the best zombie film since Shaun of the Dead.” Scream magazine

“In the wake of the film’s lean, original setup, the attempt to pack so much character drama into its finale feels simultaneously rushed and underdeveloped, and as a result there’s a sense of derailment to the final act. That being said, It Stains The Sands Red has built up such a bank of goodwill by this point that this doesn’t feel like a total showstopper…” Shock Street Horror

“When the film switches gears for the final act it does not feel out of place and Molly’s new found chutzpah is believable and deserved. The makeup and gore effects are top notch, and when zombie overload threatens to rob the creatures of their menace, It Stains the Sand Red expertly gifts them back a Romero-ian combination of deadliness and tragedy in the zombie movie of the year.” Live for Films

“Minihan and Ortiz manages to craft a tight, character-driven story that harkens back to Sherman Howard’s role as Bub in Day of the Dead and even the titular Bud the Chud – in so much that they humanise the zombie menace […] A taut, tense (and funny) reinvigoration of the zombie genre, It Stains the Sands Red honestly deserves to be held in as high a regard as Romero’s original zombie trilogy.” Nerdly


“Director Minihan (Grave Encounters, Extraterrestrial) has performed a masterstroke with It Stains the Sands Red. After the experience of directing horror with a bigger budget, he has gone in the opposite direction and made a film that’s almost minimalistic in execution […] His direction, coupled with Allen’s performance, makes for a winning combination that puts a beating heart in the chest of the undead.” Glasgow Live

“It’s good to see the different types of zombies and it’s a surprise that Molly didn’t get infected during her zombie battles as Minihan throws in some gore punches which will make you look away. It Stains the Sands Red might be vague or perhaps unconventional in its narrative structure, but it still manages to rope you into a frustrating but watchable discourse.” Wicker Girl

Main cast:

  • Brittany Allen … Molly – Extraterrestrial; Dead Before Dawn 3D
  • Juan Riedinger … Smalls – Excess Flesh; The Haunting of Alice DJennifer’s Body
  • Merwin Mondesir … Nick – Grave Encounters; Lost Boys: The Tribe
  • Kristopher Higgins … Ted
  • Andrew Supanz … Jason
  • Nico David … Chase
  • Michael Filipowich … Jimmy
  • Dylan Playfair … Robbie
  • Warren E. Thomas … Soldier 1
  • Steve Judkins … Soldier 2
  • Max Christensen … Young Chase
  • Kyle McCachen … Flashback Boyfriend
  • Shawn O’Brion … Dead Blake
  • Drew Marvick … Pipe Wrench Zombie – director of Pool Party Massacre

Filming locations:

Valley of Fire, Nevada

Technical details:

92 minutes | 2.39:1

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