The Sandman (2017)

Directed by Peter Sullivan [Other horror films: Summoned (2013), High School Possession (2014), Ominous (2015), Cucuy: The Boogeyman (2018)]

This Syfy flick isn’t the worst I’ve seen the channel make, but it is overly generic and pretty close to pointless. Ultimately, it comes across as a poor knock-off of Firestarter, what with a little girl who has a power she can’t control being chased by military men, and I just couldn’t find myself caring whatsoever.

In terms of what the film does right, I felt there were a few solid kills that warrant a mention, such as a character’s head getting compressed until it pops, along with a scene in which the Sandman breaks the spine of one of the soldiers. Also, Tobin Bell has about six minutes of screen-time, so that’s cool, right?

Shaun Sipos’ character ends up being a lot less important than one might think, which was a bit surprising, but honestly, I couldn’t find the effort to care much. Lead girl Shae Smolik does about as well as you can expect a little kid to do, but I personally found her a bit irksome throughout. Amanda Wyss (Tina from ANOES) appeared for a bit, but I honestly didn’t know who she was until I checked through her IMDb credits. Haylie Duff somewhat sucked. But hey, Tobin Bell has about six minutes of screen-time, right?

Honestly, the more I think about this one, the more derivative I feel it is. Like I said, I kept getting a Firestarter vibe from it, which was exactly how I felt when I first saw this film, shorty after it’s premiere in October 2017. I didn’t like it then, and I certainly haven’t changed my view in light of another watch.

To be entirely truthful, I don’t think there’s really anything else to say about this, other than that I really didn’t care for the design of the titular Sandman (it didn’t look near organic enough, if that complaint makes sense). This flick wasn’t the worst Syfy original I’ve seen, but it was entirely pointless and without merit. I mean, at least I got to see Tobin Bell in a handful of scenes, so that’s enough, right?

3.5/10

5 Headed Shark Attack (2017)

Directed by Nico De Leon [Other horror films: N/A] & Jose Montesinos [Other horror films: Nightmare Wedding (2016), Sinister Minister (2017), From the Depths (2020)]

Oh dear. This series was looking marginally better with 3-Headed Shark Attack, but it dropped down a bit with this one. Now, this is definitely better than the first movie, but boy, it’s not a good or even enjoyable flick whatsoever.

Well, scratch that – there was one decently amusing scene of a multiple-headed shark (who’d have thunk it?) jumping out of the water to attack a helicopter. That was rad, in a hideous-CGI sort of way. Otherwise, I didn’t much see the point of the film.

Sure, both Lindsay Sawyer and Nikki Howard look steaming in bikinis, but that’s not enough. I did sort of like Jeffrey Holsman’s character arc (such as it was), and Chris Bruno looked super familiar (I’m guessing because he’s the brother of Dylan Bruno, an actor I enjoyed in the series Numb3rs), and was decently fun, but there’s still not a lot of reason to go watch this one.

Part of the issue is the repetitiveness of the plot – group goes out on the water, gets attacked, comes back to mainland, decides to go out on water again, gets attacked, so on and so forth. I mean, I’ll be honest, I don’t expect a whole lot from most shark movies, but even for a sub-genre as often dry as this, the film was pretty bad.

Worth noting – for the first 35 minutes or so, the shark only had four heads. Then, for some reason, the shark’s tail became a fifth head. Yes, it’s tail, and yes, it looked as stupid as you’re probably imagining right now.

I’ve now seen 2-Headed Shark Attack, 3-Headed Shark Attack, and 5 Headed Shark Attack, God help my soul, and none of them have been great. The closest the series has gotten to average (and it was still a far way off) was 3-Headed Shark Attack, and I’m sad to see that the series dipped down with this rather lackluster outing. Here’s hoping the next one is better, but let’s be honest, how likely is that?

3/10

Dry Blood (2017)

Dry Blood

Directed by Kelton Jones [Other horror films: N/A]

I went into this one hoping for the best, and I liked aspects of the first half, but in the last twenty minutes or so, Dry Blood really started to irk me.

To be fair, I was irked earlier on also. So the main character (Clint Carney) is a drug addict trying to get clean, so he goes to a rather secluded cabin he partly owns in order to dry out. So far, so good. He asks a friend (Jaymie Valentine) to come to the cabin to help, and she does, so he now has support.

Here’s the issue – apparently even before he got addicted to drugs, the main character has a history of hallucinating, and so when he goes into withdrawal, the stuff he’s seeing could be caused by multiple issues (including, by the way, drugs he brought with him that he may or may not remember taking).

All of this is to say that we have a super unreliable narrator in Carney, and come the conclusion of the film, it’s hard to say what the true events of his stay at the cabin actually are. Did he kill some people, including a cop, or was that another vision? Even with that reveal in the last few minutes, I still don’t really know. Was the cop hounding him, as it seemed? Did his ex-wife come by? I have no idea, because with the drugs and hallucinations, nothing is clear-cut, and when they throw in possible flashbacks, it’s even worse.

Little in Dry Blood wowed me to begin with. I guess some of the special effects are decent, the cabin itself is a perfectly acceptable setting, and sure, the idea in of itself was interesting, but what we have here is mostly a ‘Oh, is it supernatural, hallucinations, or a combo?’ thing going on, and at that point, who knows what’s actually happening.

I went into Dry Blood with little expectations (assisted by the fact that I had never heard of this before starting it), and honestly, the first thirty, forty minutes of the movie were pretty solid. Once we are faced with more visions/dreams/drugged artifacts of the mind/supernatural stuff, though, I became more frustrated than anything.

Now, it is possible that everything is there in order to make sense of the story. Maybe with a close re-watch, the story of what really happens at that cabin emerges. It’s possible, and it would be unfair of me to discredit that. However, with this first-time watch, that certainly wasn’t the case, and while the movie does do some things right, and the basic idea is worth considering, I didn’t much care for this final product.

6/10