Just Below the Surface are… – Sand Serpents (2009)

Much like Tremors before it, Sand Serpents features giant worms that live beneath the Earth who come up to feast on the human animal when they tread where they should not. The setting for this particular film happens to be Afghanistan where Jason Gedrick’s character Richard Stanley is helping to fight the Taliban. So not only does he have to face a very real and known enemy, but also a horror from deep within the earth. As the picture flits between those combatants, the audience is taken on a journey that will either lead to survival or death.

What is most surprising about this film which aired on the Syfy channel, is the fact that it actually looks decent, like the makers of this movie spent a little money on it and for the most part, it shows. The serpents obviously look quite fake, but the CGI used is definitely better than many of the other pictures that feature giant sharks and crocodiles and such. Those aside from Gedrick did a decent job and overall, the film was eminently watchable which in itself is very surprising considering the source, yet there was one thing which hampered it from being a totally enjoyable experience. Simply put, it was very tedious and overlong. There was indeed a lot of action to be had and the director and the writer set up a lot of conflict for the hero to overcome, but there should have been more sand serpents and less human element aside from the main protagonist and those he is trying to save. Another factor was the lack of comedy which can be chalked up by comparing this film to Tremors, perhaps a bit unfair but almost an impossibility not to do so. In Tremors, the comedic presence moved the film along at a good pace and the lack of it here did not necessarily hamper it, but would have helped things out quite a bit.

The special effects hurt the impact the monsters should have had on the audience, but they were adequate enough that the film still managed to be somewhat enjoyable. Again, more of them would have been preferable, but the film was left open for a sequel as much as that previously mentioned movie starring Kevin Bacon had been, with no expectation of the serpents being completely destroyed. Does the film warrant a sequel though? Not in the slightest, but knowing Syfy, one can never rule it out.

1.5 out of 5

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