THE SANDKINGS was the pilot episode for a revival of "The Outer Limits" TV series, which ran in the mid-60s and still has a cult following. While the feature is long on moody atmospherics and morality, it's decidedly short on the thrills modern horror audiences have come to expect.
For nine years, scientist Simon Kress (Beau Bridges) has worked in a top-secret government lab, analyzing and evolving a microscopic species of Martian insects that he has dubbed "the Sandkings." Kress is certain his work will eventually be made public, and he will be awarded the Nobel Prize. But
the project is unceremoniously terminated, as is he. Seeking glory, Kress swipes some of the Sandkings, builds a giant terrarium in his barn, and continues his work. Free of restrictions, he quickly develops the Sandkings into intelligent, scorpion-like creatures which seem to revere him as a god.
Kress's obsession with his secret work alienates, and finally drives away, his family. After one of the Sandkings bites him, he slowly begins to lose his sanity. Kress invites his former supervisor (Kim Coates) over, and throws him into the terrarium to be devoured by the Sandkings. His struggle
breaks the glass and the Sandkings escape. In the end, Kress has no choice but to blow up his house, and himself with it, to destroy the alien invaders.
On the positive side, THE SANDKINGS is well-acted and well-made. It continues "The Outer Limits" tradition of emphasizing moody visuals and intense atmospherics over scenes of explicit horror. On the negative side, it languishes over its characterization and plot to the point where the movie
becomes very dull in its final third. "The Outer Limits" always offers a moral--here, a caution about delusions of grandeur--but THE SANDKINGS is so determined to drive its point home, it leaves interesting story points unexamined. For example: how exactly does the bite affect Kress, and were the
Sandkings just conning Kress with their worship to gain their freedom?
THE SANDKINGS was broadcast in 1995, and released to home video in 1996. With its decided lack of graphic shocks, THE SANDKINGS might be a choice for parents searching for "sanitized" entertainment for their children. Conversely, kids acquainted with Freddy Krueger will probably find THE SANDKINGS
tame, and be put off by its platitudes. (Adult situations, violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE SANDKINGS was the pilot episode for a revival of "The Outer Limits" TV series, which ran in the mid-60s and still has a cult following. While the feature is long on moody atmospherics and morality, it's decidedly short on the thrills modern horror audi… (more)