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Review: ‘Quicksand’

Shudder Survival Horror Stays Stuck In The Muck

Growing up in the 80’s and being exposed to movies like Beastmaster, The Neverending Story and Princess Bride I figured quicksand would be more of a worry as I got older. The terror of being trapped in a situation where even the slightest fight would drag you further down terrified me. As I got older, I came to realize that quicksand isn’t what film makes it out to be. In reality it is physically impossible for a human to be completely immersed in the stuff but that doesn’t stop filmmakers from using it. Judging by how often the trope is used, it’s a quick way to bring in some tension to the story and add a ticking time bomb element to the plot. That brings us to today’s offering Quicksand from director Andres Beltran.

In the midst of a divorce, a married couple travels to Colombia to meet up with a friend for a conference. Upon heading back from a hike in the rainforests, they encounter a thief attempting to steal their car. Retreating back into trees they fall in quicksand and quickly learn they need to work together in order to survive.

The majority of this film takes place in the quicksand so it keeps things confined to a small space where this separated couple needs to put their differences aside in order to get out alive. Seems like the recipe for a decent survival horror but this dialogue heavy slog just didn’t deliver. Honestly it felt like 86 minutes of marriage counseling with quicksand thrown in as an afterthought. I’ll hand it to Carolina Gaitan (Sofia) and Allan Hawco (Josh) for doing what they could with the script and creating what I thought was a pretty believable couple in the throes of divorce but that’s where it stops. I mean, yeah, being stuck in quicksand with a nightfall approaching and being surrounded by venomous snakes seems like it would be enough to create tension but it all just wasn’t enough to distract my focus from the arguing couple. If I want to nitpick, I could mention the fact that the snake used wasn’t even of the venomous variety but my biggest issue though, had to be with the inconsistencies. One minute they are easily moving around the viscous fluid while the next they are fighting for their life. With tight shots they are far from the firm ground with the wide shots showing the edge clearly within reach. Is that enough to pull me out of the story entirely? No, I can suspend my disbelief but I just found myself doing that way too much to enjoy the film. It has its moments but those moments are few and far between. I honestly wanted to like this more but there just wasn’t enough to draw me in and keep my attention.

If you’re a fan of survival horror, then by all means check this one out and judge for yourself but I, myself can’t recommend it with any kind of fervor. As of right now, you can find Quicksand streaming on Shudder and later on AMC+.