A wounded man is hunted in the desert by his murderous wife and her lover in this satisfying, darkly-humored suspense thriller.
The day after nebbishy Nelson Yeagher (David John James) is nearly killed in his house by a masked intruder, his best friend and lawyer Jack (Brad Koepenick) drives him and his sexy wife Margo (Elizabeth Morehead) to the desert to look at an investment property. Jack takes Nelson up a cliff for
the view and then pushes him over the side; it was he who tried to shoot Nelson the night before. Jack and Margo are longtime lovers who have planned to kill him for his money and insurance. But when they bring the sheriff (Bob Thompson), to the scene of the "accident" the next morning, there's no
body; Nelson survived the fall and walked away, only to become lost in the desert. A cat-and-mouse game ensues in which Jack and Margo attempt to find and kill Nelson without causing the sheriff to become suspicious as he also searches. As Nelson grows more resourceful from his ordeal, Jack and
Margo begin to bicker. The sheriff figures out Jack and Margo's plan, and is killed by a bullet meant for Nelson. Jack dies when he falls into a mine shaft where Nelson is hiding. In a final confrontation, Nelson tries to offer forgiveness to his wife, but she is killed by backfire when she tries
to shoot him with a gun whose barrel is clogged with dirt.
SAND TRAP isn't quite up to the level of films like Joel and Ethan Coen's BLOOD SIMPLE (1984), Sam Raimi's THE EVIL DEAD (1983), or John Dahl's RED ROCK WEST (1993), but it's in that class: a smart thriller from an obviously intelligent filmmaker with an ability to work well with a small budget
and unknown cast. Debuting director and cowriter Harris Done, a former cinematographer (whose credits range from straight-to-video titles like SINFUL INTRIGUE to the prestigious, Spielberg-produced 1999 documentary THE LAST DAYS), avoids letting his material become either too nasty or too comic,
though he could probably have mined more humor from this pair of oversexed murderers who aren't nearly as smart as they think they are. The one scene in the film that rings false is one that occurs before we know that Jack and Margo are lovers: he enters her room, pretending to rape her in what
turns out to be a sex game they play. (It wasn't any better in 1969 when it was done in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.) All of the leads are good, particularly Elizabeth Morehead in a juicily villainous role. SAND TRAP was voted the audience favorite at the 1997 Newport Beach International
Film Festival. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: A wounded man is hunted in the desert by his murderous wife and her lover in this satisfying, darkly-humored suspense thriller. The day after nebbishy Nelson Yeagher (David John James) is nearly killed in his house by a masked intruder, his best friend an… (more)