It’s 11:45 pm
Funny thing about weather….how can it be hot one day and then snow 3-4 inches the next,my friends Bradley and Michelle are seeing that right now in North Dakota. I’m seeing it as I write this review. 90 minutes ago,it was a perfect blue sky and now its overcast and chilly. Sort of what our next movie is all about.
I picked up “Death Valley” because the cover features two of my favorite actresses,Kelly Hu and Victoria Pratt. Both are fanboy favorites as Kelly has done both Marvel and DC movies and series while Victoria starred in one of my favorite series,”Mutant X” as well as other TV and movies.
Of course the cheetah was excited once he found out what I picked up because he thinks he is a Feral as well…..
Death Valley is strictly a character study film,if you are looking for wham-bang action and thrills,this isn’t going to be your cup of tea. It’s more of a slow burn suspense film with some twists in the road.
The movie opens up with a young woman (Katrina Law) running towards a police car at night screaming “They’re all dead!!” as she emerges from the desert.
Next we see her in a room with the cop (Jeremy Ratchford of “Cold Case”) asking her what happened….and then the movie fades back to the start where two couples are driving to Las Vegas,one couple,Jamie (Pratt) and Roy (Nick Tarabay) is already married and the other is dashing off to do the same. Lochlyn Munro plays a big Hollywood bigwig named Buddy who going to marry Law’s character,Anna on a whim. Ignoring the “Road Closed” signs,he thinks he knows a short-cut and races on,drunk and hyper.
Suddenly out of nowhere,a young woman appears on the road,shooting at them. In their panic,they hit and kill the woman but swerve off the road.
The car is disabled and no phones work. The couples argue what to do and how to do it. Buddy and Anna decides to hike out powered by alcohol and pills. But Jamie is insistent on not leaving the dead woman in the open and they put her in the trunk of the car before heading out.
Out in the desert,things come apart and that includes finding yet another dead body with no idea on how it got there…
This is a interesting film directed by veteran director T.J. Scott.and co-written by Brad McPherson and Scott.
The story is a good one up to the last 10 minutes where grounds to a weird and under developed ending which makes little sense.
But the dynamic between the four leads is where the strength of film lies. Watching how the power of each character both rises and wanes as the desert sun grows hotter makes this worth watching. While at first glance,you don’t like or really develop any empathy for some of the people,Buddy being the main one you don’t care for,the longer they are stranded,the more the humanity rises and not everyone is as bad or as good as they appear to be.Hearing Victoria Pratt curse for the first time after watching her for years was a hoot!
Scott gets solid performances out of his cast for the most part. Ratchford and Hu get hung out to dry because of the story,they simply are underused and their characters are never developed enough to figure in the plot.
David Herrington does a great job capturing the desert showing all of its dangers while showing its beauty as well. The score was a pleasant surprise and was done nicely by Juliette and Sean Beavan.
The cheetah and I both liked “Death Valley” for the most part,smartly directed by Scott ,just wished the script had been fleshed out just a tad more!
We gave this a paw/thumbs up!