Sunday 20 August 2023

REVIEW: Quicksand (2023)

Under the direction of Andres Beltran and penned by Matt Pitts, Quicksand immerses viewers in a compelling odyssey through the emotional and physical trials faced by an American couple ensnared in the lush wilderness of Colombia.

At its core, the film revolves around healthcare professionals Sofia (Carolina Gaitan) and Josh (Allan Hawco), a couple grappling with the brink of divorce. This strained relationship forms the backdrop for a gripping narrative of survival and self-discovery. Sofia, a doctor, returns to her homeland after an extended absence to deliver a conference lecture. Accompanied by Josh, who experiences Bogotá for the first time, they leave their children behind in the United States. Will this journey offer them an opportunity to mend their fractured marriage, or will it lead to their literal undoing?

A pivotal twist unfolds during a fateful rainforest hike, where their encounter with a car thief and a subsequent gunpoint confrontation leave them trapped in a pit of quicksand. Their desperate escape attempts lead to immobilization, and in the process, they must grapple with their inner demons while battling the relentless jungle elements. Amidst their struggle, a looming giant snake adds an extra layer of danger to their dire predicament.

Carolina Gaitan and Allan Hawco deliver decent performances, they portray well the complex emotional journey their characters are forced to endure. The chemistry between the two actors is strong, making their struggles and revelations all the more believable. As the plot unfolds, the quicksand becomes a powerful metaphor for the couple's deteriorating relationship, forcing them to confront their grievances and rediscover the value in one another.

Andres Beltran's direction shines as he expertly balances the heart-pounding suspense of the survival aspect with the intimate, character-driven moments of introspection. The lush cinematography captures the beauty and treacherousness of the Colombian wilderness, intensifying the sense of vulnerability felt by the characters.

Throughout the film, a great deal of effort is made to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat, unsure of whether the couple will succumb to the perils of the jungle or find strength in each other to overcome their challenges. This gripping uncertainty adds layers of tension and depth to the plot, keeping the audience engrossed until the final moments.

Quicksand serves as a thought-provoking exploration of marriage, redemption, and the human spirit. It delves into the complexities of relationships and the transformative power of life-threatening situations. The film's powerful message reminds us of the importance of valuing our loved ones and finding strength in unity when confronted with life's most daunting obstacles.

The Good
Despite the low budget, everything looks and feels real and believable. I liked both the performances of Allan Hawco and Carolina Gaitan, and there is a true feeling of peril when they ultimately end up trapped.

The film is a beautiful 80 minutes long, which for a horror/thriller is about the perfect length.

The Bad
Some of the arguments between Sofia and Josh are very cliche. The film is called Quicksand, but it is more mud that they are trapped in.

Quicksand is a decent horror/thriller film that does a fair job in both its storytelling and performances.

Another decent release from the good people at Shudder, and available now at the following links.

I score Quicksand a fair 7/10