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The IMDb page for Stranger In The Dunes cites the film as a sci-fi thriller. While the thriller aspect is undoubtedly correct, this is not a sci-fi film at all; not even in the more fantastical Star Wars sense of the genre. It is, in fact, a fantasy thriller, and while it is a minor thing on the page and does not impact the movie at all, I just find it odd that such a mistake would happen.

Stranger In The Dunes follows Elliot (Andrew Hovelson) and Diana (Delphine Chanéac), a married couple enjoying a holiday at Elliot’s childhood vacation home. This vacation home is right on the beach and is isolated from all but sand, dunes, and the big blue. Elliot, a professor, is using this time to research and write a book.

“…he shares a relaxed, natural chemistry with Diana. This makes Elliot jealous…”

Enter Wesley (Mike Dwyer), Elliot’s long-time friend. He brings simmering resentments between the husband and wife to the surface, in part because he shares a relaxed, natural chemistry with Diana. This makes Elliot jealous and easily irritated. In order to let Elliot blow off some steam on his own, Wesley and Diana go for a walk. Near a little oasis, Wesley takes things too far, and as Diana is fighting him off, she is accidentally killed.

To hide the evidence of his misdeeds, Wesley dumps her body into the small pool of water right there. He then goes back to the house. However, shortly after explaining to Elliot that his wife is dead, Diana shows up alive and well. Diana has a hazy recollection of what happened, so she can’t corroborate any part of Elliot’s story, which is a good and bad thing for him. So to prove he hasn’t lost his mind, Wesley kills himself, has the two put his body into the water, and he shows up with the next tide.

Stranger In The Dunes (2019)

Directed: Nicholas Bushman

Written: Nicholas Bushman, Mike Dwyer

Starring: Mike Dwyer, Delphine Chanéac, Andrew Hovelson, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

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"…the film leaves the audience with a lot to mull over."

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