The latest new Netflix movie to hit the top 10 charts comes out of nowhere. And we’re not exactly surprised that this zombie movie we haven’t heard of is already garnering attention. Zombie flicks always draw something from an audience, if only because they don’t happen often.
Today we’re talking about Valley of the Dead, a Spanish zombie movie (originally titled Malnazidos) that just came out on Netflix on Monday (July 11). And in that short span of time, it’s already managed to make its way into the top 10 films on the US list, an achievement for a non-English language film with little publicity or enthusiasm.
Valley of the Dead creeps in at number 8 on the list and sits between more famous films – Wanted starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy and The Dark Knight Rises, Christian Bale’s third Batman film. It’s also a Netflix original.
What is Valley of the Dead about?
Valley of the Dead is set in Spain in 1938 as the Spanish Civil War rages on. Captain Jan Lozano (Miki Esparbe) nearly doesn’t go any further with that though, because we’re going to face him against a firing squad. His fate is saved by his uncle, a general.
Then Lozano is sent on a suicide mission. Shortly after starting this mission, they encounter – you guessed it – rabid zombies. This forces Lozano to work with his enemies to survive.
The most interesting of Lozano’s makeshift allies is a woman named “Priest Killer” (Aura Garrido). She has a short temper, short hair and seems made to complicate things in action films.
These anti-heroes find more and more allies and fight zombies. It’s quite a literal adventure.
What do critics think of Valley of the Dead?
Valley of the Dead seems to have slipped off the radar for many critics, but some found it and gave mixed reviews. Matt Donato at IGN (opens in new tab) wrote: “Valley of the Dead won’t crack anyone’s list of favorite zombie movies, but it’s still serviceable and made more interesting by the setting of the Spanish Civil War.” He also states that “the historical atmosphere of the whole thing sells a worthwhile wrap, while the depths of the horror exploration and climactic finals are much shallower.”
Rotten tomatoes (opens in new tab)found only one review from critics, however, by Roger Moore at Movie Nation (opens in new tab) (which we admittedly hadn’t heard of before). Company feels a bit flat-footed most of the time.” He also notes, “The only time this ‘Valley’ seems to come together is when it’s playing on classic fighting and horror tropes.”
Decider’s John Serba is also polite but reserved with his review, calling Valley of the Dead “technically proficient and therefore worth seeing… are upset that their friends are returning as undead chewers and end up seeing the zombie phenomenon in a larger context.” is as their own survival etc. etc. It just goes through the motions of a horror action comedy without ever being very scary, exciting or funny.”
Should you watch Valley of the Dead tonight?
To be honest, we don’t think Valley of the Dead has a strong chance of making our list of the best Netflix movies. Or even the best horror movies on the Netflix list.
After watching a bit of Valley of the Dead, it seems like a movie that’s only for those who don’t have enough new zombies in their lives. We’re not sure if Disney’s Happy Zombies is your taste, but we should note that Zombies 3 is one of the 7 new movies streaming this week.