Directed by T.J Scott Starring: Katrina Law, Lochlyn Munro, Victoria Pratt, Nick Tarabay
Indie film review by Monica Jowett
Stranded in the desert, miles from anyone else, four strangers heading from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a drunken wedding trip hit a mysterious woman with their car. They have to overcome the blazing sun and one another to survive and get back to civilization in this mystery thriller Death Valley, directed by T.J. Scott.
A police car picks up a woman on a deserted highway as she screams for help, and we see her in police custody, ready to explain the events that have just happened. Annie (Katrina Law) is terrified and nervous as she retells her story that led to her being on the highway.
Two couples are in a car heading to L.A for a wedding travel on a newer stretch of road, for a better view of the beautiful scenery. Drinking and laughing in the car, they are startled to see a woman, barely clothed firing a gun towards them and crash into her. Shocked by the sudden turn of events they fight amongst themselves before agreeing to find a way to a parallel highway and to safety but first have to get through the desert in blistering heat which proves too much as many surprising revelations emerge. Inevitably this causes friction between the four and it starts to put them, and us, on edge.
A thick web of lies and deceit is revealed and it appears no one is who they seem. The script is dialogue heavy as it uses the open space of the desert as a place for all to let loose on their insecurities and issues with another. Though a perfect location for this thriller where circumstances become heated rapidly, the desert is dangerous and when the relative strangers are left to talk out their problems no one else is around to rescue them from each other or themselves.
For instance, TV producer Billy Rich (Lochlyn Munro), self-proclaimed Hollywood’s ‘Golden Boy’ who is arrogant and overconfident is taking his wife-to-be, aspiring actress Annie to Vegas. After knowing her for one night, their barely formed relationship seems solid but as they hardly know one another, the cracks quickly start to show. In tow are former convict Roy (Nick E. Tarabay) who is breaking parole to take the trip along with his wife Jamie (Victoria Pratt) who may have been with Billy herself the night before. These two might be more unstable in their relationship than the others, made worse by the presence of alcohol, drugs and blazing sun. Subtlety and mystery is the key in this thriller as we are taken deeper into the desert and can no longer trust any character to be who they say are.
The final act unravels the mysterious plot and we discover who has been keeping the biggest secrets and who the worst of them all is. Death Valley proves to keep the drama moving and not leave any question unanswered in this sun soaked thriller.