Follows a married couple almost divorcing who become trapped in quicksand while hiking through a rainforest in Colombia. They will battle the elements of the jungle and must work together in order to survive.
Editing: Alejo Alas
Music: Manuel Jose Gordillo
Cast: Allan Hawco, Carolina Gaitan, Sebastian Eslava, Andres Casaneda
Directors: Andres Beltran
Writers: Matt Pits
Cinematography: Santiago Otoya
At one hour and twenty-six minutes, you may think that’s a very long time for people to be sinking in a film titled Quicksand, but this film goes for a realistic approach: you don’t get sucked into quicksand! Although director Andres Beltran and writer Matt Pitts choose to meet in the middle of realism for their Columbian rainforest survival film. Quicksand is survivable, our characters have read enough to know it doesn’t make suck you in like in the films, but they haven’t read enough to know how to escape.
There’s a sub-genre of survival horror films that deal with characters stuck in one position and dealing with their lives and past decisions. This usually works best with one character, see Buried, and Quicksand quickly bogs itself down in dealing with the melodrama of its two leads.
On the brink of divorce, Josh (Allan Hawco) travels with Columbia with Sofia (Carolina Gaitan) to speak at a medical seminar. After some brief back-and-forth interactions to set up the state of their relationship, the two head into the jungle for a short hike. On their way out, they spot someone trying to break into their car, and Josh, for some reason, chooses to try and play the hero leading to the two of them running through the jungle and ending up lost and stuck in quicksand together.
Both Hawco and Gaitan do their best to try and gather some form of chemistry together amidst the rain and mud, and the ultimate goal from Beltran to gather audience sympathy is admirable as you watch their bodies get stuck in the mud like their relationship. Metaphorically the film is simple, but there needs to be more drama or thrills here to bring the whole package together. Once a snake gets involved, the tension rises, but it’s all over just as I feel things begin to build up pace.
Back to the thief for a moment, the weirdest part of Quicksand. The film starts with a prologue featuring this thief’s friend getting stuck in quicksand. Then we see him later, apparently working with the hotel concierge to pinpoint good tourist marks for him to steal from. Still, it all ends up feeling silly and pointless as the prologue and car scene are just an excuse to have the characters run off unthinkingly and into the quicksand. I spent the whole film expecting this criminal enterprise to pop up as a bigger surprise moment, but it was all the most unnecessary explanation for getting lost in the quicksand.
There are few simple survival horror films like this made anymore, so I enjoyed watching it for what it was; however, Quicksand isn’t going to be something I’m coming back to anytime soon.
Quicksand is available to stream on Shudder from 14/07/23.