August 12, 2005

Death Valley (2004)

(AKA Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill)

From the inaccurate IMDb: "When a group of college kids stumble upon a small abandoned town of Sunset Valley, they must fight a band of Zombies led by a Confederate soldier seeking retribution for his grisly execution."

"Bloody Bill" actually seeks retribution for his sister's execution and the only reason the kids end up in Sunset Valley is because they are carjacked by a drugs dealer who needs to find his partner.

Now you know you are in trouble with a horror film when every time the action begins it turns into a rock video accompanied with some of the nastiest and most amateur heavy metal "music" you've ever heard. Those Rob Zombie films were bad enough but this mess makes them look like masterpieces in comparison. Inappropriate music is one of the easiest ways to destroy a movie and you know I often bitch about it. I was even mentally trying to recut the movie as I watched it with some kind of "suspenseful" music to see if it would work any better. Unfortunately, the editing is such a hack job too that I don't think it could ever be rescued.

The camerawork is just bloody awful. The zombie attack scenes are confusing to say the least and mixing them with lots of different angles and coloured filters makes the whole thing horrible to watch.

None of the "actors" has any talent either and the script was probably made up as they went along. I really wanted to like red-headed Chelsea Jean who plays Gwen but she really isn't anything more than a pretty face. The black drug dealer guy, Earl, was played quite well by Gregory Bastien but he might as well have not bothered to put the effort in as nobody else did.

The story itself is very superficial and there are plot holes big enough to drive the van they all arrived in through. It's sort of Twilight Zone-ish but we've all seen this kind of thing before. I'm sure you will be able to think of a couple of dozen examples (including "Reeker") which have kids trapped in some kind of ghost town getting torn apart by monsters. I would list all the similarities this has to the other better films but I really can't be bothered as this doesn't really deserve any more time spent on it than I already have.

It's not in any way scary. The gore effects are ok but there aren't many of them. There's no nudity or sexiness either which may have livened things up at least a little bit.

I still didn't completely hate it though as I did watch it all the way to the end so I'll give it 2 out of 10. It tried to be different but it just didn't work.

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