DVD Review: The Sandman (2017)

By , Contributor
Writer-director Peter Sullivan, with a filmography dominated by made-for-TV Christmas movies, somehow snagged Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee as a producer for his Syfy Channel movie The Sandman. What Lee's direct involvement was, if anything at all, is seemingly unknown. But the prominent credit caught my eye, so I checked out the new-to-DVD horror flick. Plus it co-stars Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell. How bad an 86 minutes could it be?

In case you're wondering, "Cameo King" Lee doesn't make an appearance in this one. Nor does this Sandman have anything to do with Lee's Spider-Man foe of the same name (and for that matter, it's also completely unrelated to the Neil Gaiman DC Comics character). It's an original creation of Sullivan's, a nasty-looking creature (embodied by Mick Ignis) who is intrinsically linked to a young girl, Madison (Shae Smolik). No reason to spell out how Madison and Sandman are linked, suffice it to say that their unique relationship allows the psychically-gifted child to manipulate the sandy menace.

But first, Sandman manages to permanently dispose of Madison dad Colton (Jason-Shane Scott), leaving her in the care of next of kin Aunt Claire (Haylie Duff). Claire tries hard to protect her niece, even as her world is rocked by police claims that her brother was on a murderous rampage prior to his death. Meanwhile, Child Protective Services agent Abigail Farmer (Lyn Alicia Henderson) is riding Claire about her qualifications to be Madison's mother. And Tobin Bell's Special Agent Valentine is out to snatch Madison in order to study her mysterious psychic powers.

There's not much to recommend, except to count the references to various better horror films The Sandman borrows from (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Firestarter, among others). If you saw it on Syfy last year (I didn't), you might want to check it out to see if this officially R-rated cut differs at all from what aired on TV. It's not that the film is all that bad, just kind of dull. At least young Shae Smolik offers a believable portrayal of a deeply conflicted child. Haylie Duff is equally effective as the maternal figure in her life.

Oh, and although as stated the Stan Lee credit does not link The Sandman to Marvel, be sure to stick through the credits as there are two Marvel-style bonus scenes—one mid-credits and one at the very end that sets up a potential sequel.

Lionsgate's DVD edition contains no bonus material outside of a trailer. 


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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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