Drew Daywalt, who directed Episodes 3, 4 and 5, pretty much put it best when he said that "if The Walking Dead is the steak dinner then Death Valley is the hot fudge sundae" to your evening viewing experience. We here at Film Deviant happen to love hot fudge sundaes!
Death Valley is the new TV series from MTV and it hits your television screen like a fucking Superfly Splash* to your face. It is a non-stop frenzy of horror, comedy, gore and some of the best writing that the small screen has seen in quite some time. If you are an unabashed lover of the genre in it's purest most awesome form...this show is for you. If you are looking for more of the teenage melodrama with a horror twist then the new season of The Vampire Diaries should be starting up soon or you can just rewatch MTV's other horror option...Teen Wolf, which wasn't bad.
The concept comes from the mind of co-producer Spider One (shrugs) and follows a group of cops called the UTF (Undead Task Force) who go around policing anything undead that is thrown at them. Episode one includes zombies (both fast and slow versions are well represented), vampires (in pimp, hooker and gangbanger form), werewolves and so much more...it is refreshing to see all your favorite monsters in one little TV show. It's shown in sort of a COPS/Reno 911! style that gives each character their own identity as a camera crew follows them along documenting their every situation. I have a feeling that there's gonna be a new "sound guy" in each episode. My personal favorite character is Stubeck, played by Charlie Sanders. I just cracked up whenever he was onscreen. Choco Taco? It kinda has me worried, tho, that he's only scheduled to appear in 7 episodes out of 12. Perhaps he pisses off the wrong vampire? Choco Taco?
The comedy is downright hilarious and had us cracking up at every turn. The writing really shines through in this series and packs every scene with quotables that I'm sure will turn into cult staples. And the directing is quick and to the point. Often times in a half hour show the pace sometimes feels choppy and all over the place...but, here it's all done seamlessly and reflects a good understanding of the relationship between horror and comedy. Eric Appel does a fine job in the director's chair...tho, I'm anxious to see what Mr. Daywalt has in store for us.
We do not have any complaints of this first pilot show other than it should've been a full hour show on Cinemax. Thus allowing for titties and f-bombs at will. But, that's more of a compliment as we were thirsty for more Death Valley after the credits rolled. Hopefully, there's an uncensored DVD series collection down the road. But, that's not to say the show's style doesn't take any chances. It's certainly one of the edgier shows on television that pushes things as much as possible for a basic cable broadcast. It does display enough gore, thongs and adult language to ensure nervous MTV executives.
Death Valley is a refreshing new series chock-full of hilarious fun and great memorable writing with an expert unflinching eye behind the camera balancing all the elements flawlessly. It should be a staple to your Monday night television agenda. I'm sure MTV will run the hell out of the show...so, there's no real worry if you didn't catch last night's premiere episode. Death Valley is the real deal in a soon-to-be flooded market of TV horror that we here at Film Deviant gladly welcome. It gets our highest recommendation.
*Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka was a popular pro wrestler from the 80's and his signature move was the Superfly Splash. Film Deviant is in no way affiliated with pro wrestling or its subsidiaries. We just felt the need to express how awesome Death Valley is by comparing it to an awesome wrestling move.
Thanks for reading,
Oh...why hello there, Caity Lotz. Absolutely loved you last night. Can't wait to see you again next Monday! What's that? Oh...why yes. Blue is my favorite color. How did you ever guess?? :)