‘Quicksand’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Do Sofia And Josh Survive The Quicksand?

While the idea of an estranged couple who find themselves in a soup, or rather, in quicksand, remembering their life together as they realize there may be no way to get out of it sounds horrifying and interesting, Quicksand fails to capture the mind. To begin with, the couple in peril really doesn’t give us any reason to root for them by the end of the film; rather, they’re more repulsive. There’s really no character arc, and they’re both quite obnoxious toward each other for most of the film, leaving no room for hope or satisfaction. It would’ve been better if they had walked away from each other by the end of the film. It’s such a shame that Shudder has such a wonderful opportunity but, more often than not, fails to deliver any kind of Shudder.

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Josh and Sofia travel to Colombia to work together as per the request of their old friend Marcos. What Marcos doesn’t know is that the couple has been separated for a while. Josh and Sofia have two children, aged 3 and 5, whom they’ve left behind to come on this work trip. They’re both healthcare professionals, and they’re there to do some lecturing, but Josh is mostly interested in the beautiful country. What Sofia can’t understand is why Josh has failed to tell Marcos about their split, leaving them in the awkward situation of staying together. At dinner with the three of them, Marcos invites Josh and Sofia on a beautiful hike because he has some spare time to show them around. Sofia passes up on after thinking about it because she doesn’t plan on spending time with Josh. After an awkward dinner and Sofia leaving, Josh finally tells Marcos that he and Sofia have been split up for a while now. The next day Marcos ends up having work, so Josh decides to unwind in the room, but Sophia, on the other hand, makes up her mind to go on the hike to see the “Cascada La Chorrera.” She changed her mind because it was something she had wanted to do, and being around Josh shouldn’t stop her from doing the things she was interested in.

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Josh and Sofia decide to go without Marcos, and immediately it looks like a bad idea. At the hotel desk, they’re shown a map that they can use to get there, but the route is too long. Instead, there’s a shorter route that would take them through a place called “Las Arenas.” The manager tells them that it’s too dangerous and infested with snakes, so they should definitely not be going that way. Even the locals avoid it. Actually, there’s a man who is planning on following them and stealing from them. Earlier, in a prelude, we saw two hunters in that area, and although we don’t know what happened to one of them, it is evident that he has been killed. Before he died himself, he saw some decayed corpses in the sand and screamed. His companion is the guy we are seeing following Sofia and Josh. The hike goes pretty well, but then it looks like it’s about to rain, so they decide to head back before reaching the destination they want to see. The couple is always arguing, and neither of them can agree with anything the other says. But, because it is a dangerous situation, they come back down to see the hunter meddling with their car. Even after Sofia’s warnings, Josh decided to show up in front of the hunter and talk it out with him. It’s a massive failure, and the hunter pulls out a gun. Sofia steps out too, and in the end, Josh hits the man with a stick of wood, and they run.

With no other choice but to escape the hunter, they decide to go into Las Arenas because the man won’t follow them there. They get split up, and Sofia hits her head on a branch, becoming momentarily unconscious. When she wakes up looking for Josh, she ends up slipping into quicksand. She struggles to escape it, and Josh finally finds her. He tries to hand over a stick that breaks too easily, and Sofia’s head sinks into the sand, leaving Josh no choice but to jump in himself. He’s able to get her out, and through all the things he read in his guidebook, he knows that if they don’t move, they will be fine. Things start to take a dark turn even when Josh tries to be positive. Sofia sees a snake egg in the sand. Earlier, she had mentioned her fear of snakes, so this is her worst nightmare come true. Sofia feels something under her, and when they both try to get it out, it turns out to be the body of the hunter.

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The hunter’s backpack has a knife, a bible, some useless items, and, of course, his rifle. They deduce that he died from starvation and start to panic a little bit. They use his backpack and cut it into strips to make a long rope so Sofia can lasso it on a rock and get herself out. Unfortunately, they’re about 8 feet short, leaving them no option but to wait for someone to come rescue them. In the meantime, Marcos realizes he has some spare time, but he has a voice note from Josh saying they’ve already headed to the hike, so Josh may not be able to meet him until late. In the forest, Sofia gets attacked by ants, and Josh hands her some vodka that he had in his pocket to get rid of them. Josh used to be an alcoholic, and Sofia wonders why he would start again. He claims it was the stress from their separation and work that made him do it again.

The snake finally shows up, and it ends up biting Josh before Sofia can shoot it with the hunter’s gun. She finally does, and now there’s only one bullet left in the gun, but the snake retreats. Since Sofia is a doctor, she is able to save Josh from dying of a blood clot formed by the venom of the snake, but his condition gets worse by the minute. In the meantime, Marcos notices Josh’s backpack on the hunter in the hotel. He immediately knows something is wrong and creates a commotion. They get locked up, and Marcos gives the hunter his watch to tell him where Josh and Sofia are. He tells Marcos that they are in grave danger.

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Sofia and Josh fight over whose fault it might be that they’re in that position. There’s a lot of negativity within them towards each other that begins to come out because of the situation they’re in. Ultimately, though, they remember their kids and become civil towards each other. Sofia realizes that there isn’t much time to save Josh because the venom will spread fast. She thinks it’s a good idea to use the snake to extend the rope for her lasso. While Josh moves from consciousness to unconsciousness, Sofia finds the snake through the hunter’s binoculars, throws something at it, and prepares the gun to shoot it. The snake comes from behind her, though, and she doesn’t manage to shoot it. It wraps itself around Sofia, and at the last moment, Josh is able to kill it with the knife.


Does Marcos Come To The Rescue?

Together, they attach the snake with the lasso, and Sofia tries to keep Josh awake. He’s become much weaker and gone numb. Finally, the lasso works and Sofia pulls herself out of the quicksand. Josh tells her to go find help because there’s no way he can move. A worried Sofia tries to get out of the place to try and find help. She’s weak and wobbly from everything that has happened, and all her mind can think about is the lecture that she was supposed to deliver there and what a great opportunity it was for her to get back to work. Sofia should’ve just stuck to preparing her lecture rather than planning to go on this hike. Ultimately, she’s found by Marcos and the rescue team that he brought along. Fortunately, they’re able to save Josh too, and in the end, Sofia kisses Josh as they bring him to safety in the ambulance. The movie ends with Sofia looking at Josh and the rescue team with relief.


Final Thoughts 

The film does a terrible job of setting up the lead couple for victory. It is very clear from the start that they’re not meant for each other, and it never gets better. The narrative that when something terrible happens, you open your eyes to what you’ve missed out on doesn’t fit very well with these two. Their egos are too big to make it work, and it’s possible that after a few days of recovering, they will come back to their senses. The actors do a fairly decent job with their facial expressions alone, but the dialogue and uninspired script and direction take it away from them.


Quicksand is a 2023 thriller film directed by John Mackenzie.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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