Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jay's Review: Sand Serpents

Another fun Saturday night Drive-In style monster flick reviewed for, enjoy!


On a final mission in Afghanistan, a small U.S. military unit confronts an astonishing, new enemy: a legion of prehistoric, six-story-tall sand serpents unearthed from the pit a thousand feet below ground. With the help of an Afghani refugee, Lieutenant Stanley (Jason Gedrick) leads his tiny band of soldiers on a terrifying invasion deep into the desert's vast underground tunnels for a war against terror they never imagined.

Sand Serpents is another of the "Creature Features" from the "Maneater" series, and was a SciFi/SyFy Channel Original. This one's taking it's inspiration from Tremors and Dune with it's desert-dwelling super-worms.

Even for a straight-to-DVD film of this caliber, this one gets rolling in a pretty paint-by-numbers fashion. A group of actors-barely-playing-soldiers, incredibly clean for being in the deserts of Afghanistan, claim to have "a bad feeling about this" within the first three minutes. At the six minute mark they're in a firefight (shoulda listened to those instincts, kids) that leads to the awakening of the titular sand serpents. You can't fault a movie for not wasting any time in getting the plot moving. From that point it's either attack by Earthworms or Taliban as they keep moving while their herd gets thinned. It's a good thing they keep it rolling, since it's the kind of flick with enough plot holes and military mistakes that if they slow-down, you may start paying attention.

Judged to the standards of the modern nature-amok creature feature, though, this one isn't bad. It rolls efficiently, if not always smoothly, and is actually pretty engaging even if it is a bit generic. Thankfully, when it slows it doesn't drag, and that's a big plus for this sort of film. The CGI works, and on the whole it's a smooth, low-budget entertainment. The biggest complaint I may have is that for a film of this type the gore is pretty minimal. There's a good body count, but it's almost dry as the desert.


The disc features trailers for other RHI Entertainment titles: Carny, Rise of the Gargoyles, Sea Beast, and Backwoods. Presented in a Widescreen format with English Dolby Digital 5.1.

Not sure how tactful it is to use the Taliban as a plot-point in a generic creature feature. Anyhow, for a rather generic "nature's revenge" creature feature, you'll find this an engaging enough way to spend a Saturday night. (They even say "I have a bad feeling about this" twice.) Grab the popcorn and a friend and "thrill" to giant equal-opportunity sandworms eating terrorists and soldiers alike.

However, it's possibly 88 minutes of sheer torture for anyone who's a stickler for military authenticity.


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