DEATH VALLEY on Shudder is a new Action-Horror movie. Complete with monsters and a very small story that doesn’t do much for the viewing experience. Overall, it just feels like you’ve seen it all before. Read our full Death Valley movie review!

DEATH VALLEY is a new Shudder horror movie with monsters and a lot of shooting action – almost like a war movie. Overall, it just feels like you’ve seen it all before.

This isn’t a bad movie in any way. It just wasn’t for me in any real way. The production quality, however, is definitely still impressive!

Continue reading our Death Valley movie review below.

A small cast

Death Valley stars Jeremy Ninaber and Ethan Mitchell – who were both in Escape the Dark – and Kristen Kaster (If I Should Die). Kristen Kaster is still very much a newcomer, but she worked really well in this story.

Ethan Mitchell has the face – or facial expressions – of someone who could play both hero and villain. In fact, I hope to see him in some kitsch horror movie roles in the future. He would be great, I’m sure!

Jeremy Ninaber is the absolute star (and classic hero type) of Death Valley and he works really well in the story. He is actually funny when he’s supposed to be, which is pretty damn important. In a chuckle-way, not a laugh-out-loud way, which is good since this isn’t a horror-comedy.

It just has a few key lines that give it moments of dark comedy.

Also, Jeremy Ninaber is the brother of this movie’s writer-director, so it’s extra important that he does a good job. Hey, that’s just the way it is. If he doesn’t deliver, it will be seen as nepotism, but as long as he does a good job, it’s just two brothers making something good.

Again, I wasn’t really happy with Death Valley, but that was due to the story which I found pretty boring. Not the actual production or acting.

Death Valley – Review | Shudder Monster Action-Horror

Campy and kitsch… and just a bit off

Death Valley did remind me of all those 1980s action movies and the monster part also tasted a bit retro. However, as someone who grew up with ’80s movies, it just felt strangely off.

I mean, I could feel and understand the 80s vibe and feel, but instead of going full camp or being totally serious with an homage, it landed somewhere in between.

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Actually, the Stranger Things series also excelled at just this; Setting the stage in another decade and staying true to it. Of course, Death Valley does not play out in another decade. It just uses the style of those movies in a retro way and it didn’t work for me.

Back in the 1980s, then stories in action movies (or action-horror such as Predator which is an obvious comparison) were very small. But that’s why the campiness and humor played a bigger part. That’s how they got away with it.

Watch Death Valley on Shudder!

Death Valley was written and directed by Matthew Ninaber, who played the actual monster in the funny monster movie PG: Psycho Goreman. Maybe that’s why I had higher hopes for this one. It had a touch of humor from PG: Psycho Goreman, but not much.

Instead, it had a truly impressive production quality when it came to the action scenes. Well, mostly the scenes that felt straight out of a war movie. In fact, I have no doubt that Matthew Ninaber could make a great war movie. This time around, it just became a strange hybrid that didn’t really work as the monster-horror movie it should be.

Having stated that I was pretty disappointed with the overall experience, I do also recognize that someone else might have a blast with Death Valley. Basically, you should check this out on Shudder and just decide for yourself.

DEATH VALLEY premieres on Shudder on Thursday, December 9, 2021.

Details

Director: Matthew Ninaber
Writer: Matthew Ninaber
Stars: Jeremy Ninaber, Ethan Mitchell, Kristen Kaster

Plot

A group of battle-weary guns for hire are commissioned to rescue an imprisoned scientist from a secret Cold War bunker. Upon entering the facility, they find themselves in a fight for survival when they come under attack from a terrifying creature of unknown origin.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina