(director: Andres Beltran; screenwriter: Matt Pitts; cinematographer: Santiago Otoya; editor: Alejandro Alas; music: Manuel J Gordillo; cast: Carolita Gaitan (Sofia), Allan Hawco (Josh), Andres Castaneda (Diego), Sebastian Eslava  (Marcos); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Sean Patrick Burke, Jason Cherubini, Nicolas Reyes; Shudder; 2023)

“Sinks under its own heaviness.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Andres Beltran (“Lianto Maldito”) is a Colombian director based in Los Angeles. He directs this survival thriller as a marriage on the rocks story. Matt Pitts writes the B-film script as if being stuck in quicksand is a substitute for marriage counseling.
A quarreling married couple, on the brink of a divorce, Sofia (Carolita Gaitan, Colombian actress) and Josh (Allan Hawco, Canadian actor), healthcare professionals in America, visit Colombia without their children, for a quick business trip, to attend a medical conference in Bogota, where the doctor Sofia will give a talk. Sofia is  returning to her homeland after a long absence, while this is his first visit.

The pic opens showing the poacher Diego (Andres Castaneda) stealing the valuable skin from a poisonous snake in the Colombian jungle, a rain-forest, whose perilous snake-filled area is called Las Arenas.

Before the conference starts, Josh insists on hiking in the rain-forest. Though Sofia just wants to return home as soon as possible, but still joins him.
The couple while on their rain-forest hike confront the armed poacher Diego breaking into their car. When Sofia runs away from Diego, she steps into the nearby quicksand while Josh runs after her and tries to save her. The couple are both stuck in the quicksand, and are surrounded by venomous snakes with no one around to help. Rather than sink, they remain still in the quicksand and do not move while waiting for help. This deadly situation gives the couple a chance to forget their conflicting issues and work together to save themselves.

The suspense builds as we wonder if they can save their marriage and their lives. The trouble is I had little sympathy for either of them, as she’s a cold fish and he’s a recovering alcoholic who goes on the hike carrying a hidden bottle of vodka.

The low-budget survival story sinks under its own heaviness, as I never felt their love return after all the hate they had for each other.

REVIEWED ON 2/17/2024  GRADE: C+