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Death Valley (2021) Movie Review

I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.

Hell is preferable to sitting through this.

Hell is preferable to sitting through this.

MPAA Rating

N/A

Running Time

91 minutes

Director

Matthew Ninaber

Writer

Matthew Ninaber

The new monster movie that really, really wants to be a horror movie but doesn’t show anything scary Death Valley makes you wonder what family members are willing to do in order to be in a real life movie with cameras and sets and props and lights and craft services.

According to IMDB, Death Valley was written and directed by Matthew Ninaber. The lead actor with first billing is named Jeremy Ninaber.

Matthew- “Hey Jeremy, I just wrote this monster movie that I’m going to direct. Everybody we offered it to said no. Did you want to play the lead? It’s a really great part!”

*times passes as Jeremy reads the script*

*Jeremy puts the script down*

Jeremy- “This script is pretty derivative and not at all scary, but I’ve always wanted to be in a movie. And if some studio is dumb enough to produce this then I want to be the lead!”

And so movie history was not made.

90 minutes later all I can think about is finishing this review so I never have to think about this movie again.

Let’s ask them.

Maybe asking their parents wasn’t such a great idea. They might be biased.

You’re judgement probably isn’t the best. I need to get to the synopsis so I never have to think about this movie ever again.

SYNOPSIS

Death Valley opens in an underground bunker in an unnamed country. We see soldiers running around and a woman covered in blood.

Her name is Dr. Chloe (Kristen Kaster and most likely not related to anyone in the cast) and she’s seen better days like we’ve seen better movies.

There’s gunfire.

There’s…growling.

Something offscreen is picking off random nameless workers. But Doc Chloe is pretty resilient. She keeps quiet and locks herself in a room. She sends an SOS. The bunker is locked down. But in 24 hours the bunker will reopen and something called “Adam” will be set loose into the world. She needs help. If Doc Chloe isn’t rescued and the situation isn’t contained it could very well be the end of the world.

All you’ll be wishing for is the end of the movie.

Flash forward to a mercenary named James Beckett (Jeremy Ninaber, getting hired because his brother is the director). He’s really good at killing people for money, but his wife is pregnant and he’s taking ONE LAST JOB because it will pay a lot of money and he’ll never have to work again.

Yes. Let’s recap.

James’ wife is pregnant.

James will retire after doing one more job.

James is completely f*cked. If you don’t know this you’ve never seen a movie before and this is your first one. Sorry it has to be this awful.

Speaking of partner, his name is Ethan AKA Junior AKA Wisecracking Sidekick. He thinks about copulation all the time and makes jokes that don’t really stick. He’s joining James in their final job together before he retires happily because that’s totally going to happen.

But what’s the final job? In case you didn’t pay attention to the first 10 minutes of the movie.

Thanks to an exposition pouting character named Rachel (Jacqueline Ninaber), James and Junior will have to—

Apparently, a family that makes bad movies together stays together.

Anyway, Nepotism Rachel says that James, Junior and other mercs whose names we won’t bother to remember will touch down in hostile country and rescue a Doctor Chloe who left a distress call. She’s trapped in a bunker and there’s also hostile militia surrounding said bunker.

The militia is armed, dangerous and have terrible European accents.

James is only one more job from retiring and getting back to his pregnant wife. We’re looking forward to it because that’s what happens in movies like these that are so well written.

James and Junior have to worry about the militia, but when they get to the bunker there might be something…deathly.

Yes. But I tried to tie in the title of the movie so it has a more dramatic sting. Not entirely successful but I tried more than the makers of the movie.

Were you not hired for a part?

Just know, if you actually finish watching Death Valley, you won’t burst into tears because you’ll be too bored to care.

death-valley-2021-movie-review

What Works With Death Valley

  • Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story is one of the best movies of the year. Don’t be a little b*tch about the subtitles because you don’t need them.
  • The Power of the Dog is a welcome return for writer/director Jane Campion and one of the best movies of the year. One of Benedict Cumberbatch’s best performances even if you don’t buy his accent. Streaming on Netflix now.

What Doesn’t Work With Death Valley

  • Ostensibly a horror movie, but there’s nothing scary that actually takes place and any attempted scare you can see coming from 5 minutes away. Most of the movie plays like an 80s action movie with limp one-liners and stilted line readings. At least the uniforms look realistic.
  • If you’re getting Resident Evilvibes from this, then you would be better off just rewatching Resident Evil again. Or reading a book. Or preparing non-denominational holiday cookies. Or adopting a pet. Or watching Succession.
death-valley-2021-movie-review

Overall

Going to Death Valley during the summer would be preferable to sitting through Death Valley, despite what the Ninaber family says.

Really 1.5 stars and that extra half-star is purely out of pity

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