Valley of the Dead – film review

Valley of the Dead is an action horror movie set during the Spanish Civil War. Jan Lozano, the captain of the 5th Brigade, together with the young driver Decruz, sets out on the mission of transmitting a secret message through the area covered by hostilities. They are captured by enemies who want to execute them. Ultimately, they must join forces when they discover that a horde of zombies that emerged from a Nazi experiment is roaming the valley, trying to devour them.

A lot of zombie films have already been made, although they were mainly American productions. But Valley of the Dead it stands out from the crowd by the place and time of the action. We are moving to the second half of the 1930s and civil war Spain, which is an original idea that is a breath of fresh air in the zombie horror genre. On the other hand, a humorous convention was chosen, treating history in a mocking way, where the greatest villains are the German Nazis who contributed to this little apocalypse of the living dead. But it must be admitted that it has some historical basis, as this war was treated as a testing ground for testing various types of weapons in combat conditions. So the theme of the experiment fits here perfectly.

Humor is not the strongest point of the opening phase of the film. Although Jan (Miki Esparbé) and Decruz (Manel Llunell) make an interesting duo, their banter and jokes are not amusing. But we should praise the young Llunell, who creates a talkative, strange, but in a way funny character. Fortunately, this changes a bit when the guerrillas join these two, and this humor is focused on topics related to the parties to the conflict. We are dealing with a group of people representing: fascists, nationalists, communists and republicans. And for a change, there were also a Russian, an Arab, a nun, a bride and a German commander. Not to mention the zombies. A veritable explosive mix that drives a rather low-spirited mood with better moments from time to time.

Our compañeros are a group of specific characters, but they cannot be denied their expressiveness. Although the action is fast-paced, everyone is given a moment to briefly present their story. Some are less and some more fun, but it is important that a thread of understanding and mutual understanding is established between the characters, despite different views. It looks especially good between Jan and the sergeant (Luis Callejo) who bring a bit of seriousness to the film. In addition, the characters have interesting nicknames, such as Zapalnik or Kosa na Księży. But all this allows you to sympathize with the characters, which is why viewers care about their fate. It is not difficult to guess that, as it happens in horror movies, there are many victims of bloodthirsty zombies among the members of the group. Ultimately, the deaths of the heroes do not cause much emotions, which is a certain drawback of this more humor-oriented film.

Valley of the Dead it can be mocking in relation to horror stories and conventions, and is also a bit grotesque, but the biggest advantage of the film is the fast pace of action and the sequences of fights. Of course, there is a slowdown from time to time so that the characters can talk to each other for a while and relax, but when the zombies start attacking, they do not stop harassing our group to the end. The way of transforming into the living dead does not differ from the standard. One can only have reservations about the characterization which is unequal. One time the zombies look quite spooky, and other times you can see quite a few shortcomings. It is possible that this is intentional due to the comedic form of the film, but the effect is rather poor. Besides, the macabre in the movie is kept to a minimum. It is brutal, but not so much that it is meant to impress. So gore lovers will surely feel deeply disappointed in this regard. In addition, the splattering blood generated by the visual effects can be shocking, which presents itself in an exaggerated manner.

Valley of the Dead it’s a nice B-class movie set in its original venues. Forests, abandoned buildings and a railway base have their own atmosphere. The story didn’t just rest on the shoulders of Miki Esparbé, who is quite bland compared to the other actors. Certainly, this production will not be remembered for long, but it can provide decent entertainment, as long as you like this type of comedy horror movies and biting zombies.

Valley of the Dead