Quicksand (2023) Movie Review – Dull survival movie sinks into mediocrity

Dull survival movie sinks into mediocrity


Currently streaming on Shudder is Quicksand, a survival thriller/relationship drama about an unhappily married couple, Josh and Sofia, who end up in the titular wet stuff after arriving in Bogata, Colombia for a medical conference. 

Shortly after arriving at their hotel, the two decide to go on a hike into the local forests together, despite the hostility that exists in their relationship. They are warned by a hotel employee not to take a shortcut through an unsafe area known as Las Arenas, an off-the-beaten location that is home to snakes and other dangers. But when they get to the start of their hiking trail and are accosted by a carjacker who wants to steal their money, they are forced to flee into this treacherous locale before they wind up dead with a bullet in their brains! 

It’s not long before Sofia takes a tumble into a muddy pool of water that turns out to be quicksand. Josh’s attempt to pull her out fails and when she submerges beneath the water, he foolishly jumps in to save her. At this point, they are both stuck in the mud, a predicament that is made worse by a colony of giant ants that nibble away at Sofia, and a snake that arrives on the scene to protect the eggs of its younglings which are located in a nest nearby. 

You might naturally assume the movie to be a suspenseful one due to the dangers that stack up for this unfortunate couple. But while there are a couple of tense scenes, both of which involve the poisonous reptile, the majority of the movie is actually quite dull. It’s watchable, thanks to the capable performances of Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) and Carolina Gaitan (Encanto) as the central couple, but director Andres Beltran spends too much time on their marital woes instead of ratcheting up the tension.

In fairness to Beltran and writer Matt Pitts, the quicksand plot is probably a metaphor for an unhappy relationship. Josh and Sofia’s marriage has become stuck in a rut, which I’m guessing is symbolised by the muddy bog that they slip into. If this is the case, I can understand why Beltran places a lot of focus on relationship chatter during the course of the film. However, this won’t do much to satisfy audience members who tune into this hoping for a ‘man against the wilderness’ type survival thriller.

A few more scenes of terror wouldn’t have gone amiss, perhaps with a few more sequences involving the snake, or another type of wilderness threat that causes the couple added problems while they are literally up to their necks in trouble. Or perhaps a scene involving the carjacker who doesn’t actually pursue them into Las Arenas. He could have taunted them (or even tried to rescue them) while they were immobile in the quicksand but instead, he disappears back to the hotel, which is the place where we originally meet him. 

A lack of suspense wouldn’t matter so much if the movie actually succeeded as a relationship drama. But as we don’t know a lot about the couple, beyond the suggestion that Josh has a drinking problem and Sofia grew restless after becoming a mother, we are never given enough reason to care about the fate of these characters. 

Consequently, you can mark this movie down in the ‘should have been better’ category. With a deeper backstory for Josh and Sofia and a few more scenes of wilderness horror, this could have been both an incisive examination of a marital breakdown and an exciting survival thriller. Instead, it just sits on the screen, stuck in its own mediocrity, with only a handful of scenes to generate a modicum of interest from the viewer. 


Read More: Quicksand Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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