Directed by: Nicholas Bushman
Written by: Nicholas Bushman
Genre: Science fiction, Drama
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Stranger In The Dunes
An unhappy and insecure married couple are on vacation at the husbands secluded beach house. The two are bickering from the start of the film and continue to do so. Filmmaker Nicholas Bushman takes great care to show it's audience that these 2 are not happy. Elliot, (Andrew Hovelson) is Diana's (Delphine Chaneac) husband and is clearly an egotist who even goes through his wife's things. This is brought to our attention when after going through her phone, she asks flat out if he's snooping again. This couple is not happy but then a possible ray of light enters the fray. Their friend Wesley (Mike Dwyer).
Wesley is the life of the party type and instantly gets things moving in the beach-house. But he's not to be trusted either. By the looks of things, he and Diana have some kind of history, or some kind of future. Hard to blame Diana is she's thinking of cheating on her husband because of his controlling nature.
The group drink the night away and the next morning, on a walk through the sands, a drunken Wesley accidentally kills Diana with a wine bottle. After dumping the body in an oasis looking circle of water, he heads back to the house to deal with this situation. After tying up Elliot, who thinks this is some kind of joke, something weird takes place. Diana walks through the door. Very much alive and unhurt.
The rest of the film revolves around the trio experimenting with the miracle oasis. Killing and maiming one another and bringing themselves back to life. The three bicker about what to do about the life saving spring, each one having different ideas. Stranger In The Dunes has a supernatural element but it really zeroes in on peoples relationships with each other. Unhappy marriages, friends who may not really be friends are the bread and butter of this title. But did I like it?
The short answer is yes. Bushman has put together a good film with the help from his talented cast. But it did feel a little long in the tooth for my taste. The spring itself isn't found until some point after the half hour mark. Before that, we just have 2 people bickering and the arrival of a third person followed by some drinking. Once act 1 has passed, things really pick up and it's all smooth sailing from there. It's also worth mentioning that as a micro budget movie, in terms of film financing, Stranger In The Dunes looks just as good as many mid to high level studio films. Very easy on the eyes.
Nicholas Bushman has put together an interesting take on reanimation and relationship dynamics. It does lean more towards the drama side and a lot of people will appreciate that. Using a slight supernatural element was a smart thing to do, to get people to otherwise wouldn't watch this genre give it a chance. Three and a half stars and thanks for reading.