Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Months after bloody combats leave behind thousands of dead in the trenches, Jan Lozano, Captain of the Fifth Brigade, has fallen prisoner to the enemy’s platoon. The possibility of dying be execution will soon be overtaken when a new unknown enemy arises. Rival sides must now unite and set their mutual hate aside in order to survive.
Review: After watching Valley of the Dead on Netflix, I couldn’t help think of what could’ve been. This Spanish language zombie movie set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War is fun in spurts, but what could’ve been a genre flick along the lines of Train to Busan suffers from a few issues that might have more to do with terrible dubbing than anything else.
For those who watch a lot of Netflix’s foreign language movies many of the actors here will be instantly recognizable, even if you don’t know them by name. Miki Esparbe (The Innocent, Alive and Kicking) plays Jan, a soldier who is saved from court-martial and execution by his uncle and sent on a mission with a green but eager fellow prisoner and soldier. When captured by a group of local freedom fighters they end up having to join forces to survive the undead. And while I’m sure there’s a deeper message in this tale about war, Valley of the Dead (original title, Malnazidos) doesn’t require anything from its viewing audience beyond viewing another zombie movie. Without giving too much away, a Nazi scientist has created a virus that brings the dead back to life and the rest is what you’d expect.
The strength of this film is the beautiful cinematography and strong camerawork. The opening scene is one of the best parts of the movie together with the action sequences (which is what most people look forward to when it comes to these types of fast-paced zombie movies) are well executed.
Sadly, the rest is as average as they come, with clichéd characters and predictable plot turns. This was also one of the worst dubbings I’ve watched in some time. Sadly, even watching the movie in its original language doesn’t help that much as the translations are also poor, which means both the humorous and the dramatic elements fall flat. It truly affects the overall quality of the movie because the actors here are all very capable and I can’t help but think if the dubbing was better audiences would be more invested in the outcome. The special effects aren’t big budget either with both the blood and gore looking average at best and terrible at worst (CGI blood is never the way to go).
If you’re looking for fresh zombie action, Valley of the Dead isn’t a bad way to go. Just don’t expect it to be top-notch. It won’t scare you at any point but there’s enough action here to entertain for a couple hours. So if that sounds like a good time to you, give it a try.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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