Valley Of The Dead (2022) Ending Explained

    Valley of the Dead, a Netflix original film by Javier Ruiz Caldera, ticks all the right boxes if you are seeking for a weekend zombie and war watch. Given that the story is set during the Spanish Civil War, conflict and politics are a given; nevertheless, this movie goes one step further by including some vicious undead.

    It was originally scheduled for release in 2020, but the epidemic forced a delay until 2022. Now, with some wonderful moments, an exceptionally brilliant cast, and ravenous zombies, this movie is finally on our screens.

    The plot frequently switches between the zombie and war genres, yet it is still worth watching. The novel “Noche de Difuntos del 38” by Manuel Martin, which also has a computer game based on it, served as the inspiration for Valley of the Dead. Let us start; here is everything you need to know about the movie.

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    The Thrilling Plot

    The Thrilling Plot

    The church bells sound at the beginning of the movie as families gather and eat while the bride, the groom, and their relatives take pictures. However, this is cut short when a car pulls up, followed by German soldiers, and the entire scene falls silent. The youngster approaches the General as he exits the vehicle and offers him a glass of water. One command later, they are all shot dead; not one person has been spared, not even the kids, as the title shows on the screen. Everyone snickers and laughs after taking a sip and coughing up the water.

    The scene shifts to a young man being blindfolded, joking away until he hears the guns clock as he lets the troops know that he’s General Lozano’s nephew and that this is all a misunderstanding. Soon enough, right as the troops aim to shoot him, his uncle intervenes, saving him from getting shot, as they then proceed to sit down for a drink. The General explains that this is the third and last time that he will save his life, but it has come at a price.

    Jan, the young man, must now deliver an envelope to Colonel Alarcos, who commands The Sixth, on the other side of the Sierra. We learn a little more about Jan, who holds the title of Captain, and now his father was dead, but he still had a brother alive somewhere, and Jan was also being sentenced for treason along with several people wanting him executed. Despite all this, he continued to remain cocky with his cynical jokes and sense of humor. 

    Private Decruz, a young soldier, and Jan prepare to make their way to The Sixth, knowing that there is almost no chance that they will make it back alive. Decruz makes sure he drives a little slower, hoping that means that they stay alive a little longer, but Jan seems unphased by their impending doom that might follow and even manages to catch a little nap on the way. They are stopped by German troops on the way, who after a little riff, let them pass.

    However, there are more hurdles on their way, one of them being the Francoist forces, who could have killed them for crossing into their territory but don’t, although they do seize their weapons, along with the letter that Jan was carrying, hoping to deliver to The Sixth. It is revealed that the letter reads, “a war is won by having balls,” and nothing else. 

    They continue moving forward, along with Jan and Decruz, until they encounter a man with a wound on his neck; as he rushes to bite them, but Brodsky is quick to snap his neck as he falls to the ground, and shoots him. As they return to their base, they realize that everything and everyone has been destroyed and is up in flames. However, the nightmare begins when all the seemingly dead bodies start to come to life, and they look like they have been starving for years.

    Three of them manage to feed on one of the members, and that’s when they all begin shooting the undead, who are now presumed to be zombies. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the same side, they must shoot them in the head to make it out alive. They manage to escape on a boat, and that’s when the plot moves forward.

    As they reach some land and prepare to make way to their camp where they have more weapons and food, unexpectedly, they encounter more zombies, and this is when they all come together to try and fight the zombies off, but they lost Brodsky in the process as he is mauled by zombies.

    After they escape, they find a small hiding place where they encounter a nun, sister Flor, along with Lieutenant Jurel, and Private Kafir. The tension between all of them can’t go unseen, but they soon realize that their only chance of surviving is if they stick together instead of turning against each other. And finally sit down to eat together and describe their experiences and encounters with the zombies, and how none of this is earthly.

    When there is no room in hell, the dead will walk the earth. The entire conversation between them turns religious, as some call it the doomsday, while Sister Flor defends that this is far from it. As the night goes by, the different groups try to put their differences aside, try to converse with each other, even if it means not being able to bond and simply be civil with each other in the midst of war, zombies, and chaos. 

    Jan is ready to burn the letter and light his cigarette, but that’s when he realizes that it had a hidden message with a map on it. We cut to the only women of the group, who is called Priest Killer and Jan, having visible tension between them although the hatred between them overpowers their cocky remarks and subtle flirting.

    Eventually, they hear a dog whine from a distance and see a zombie approach their hideaway spot, and although they manage to shoot one from a distance, plenty more emerge from the dark, causing alarm, and it isn’t long before they try and make their way into the house.

    Luckily, everyone manages to escape as the house burns down with the zombies in them. As they continue walking, they reach a fence where they see the zombies hanging on them as electricity passes through their bodies, and one of those is Brodsky, who was once their comrade. They shoot him in the head, to end his suffering. 

    Jan reveals the letter with the map on it as he shares it with the group, and they decide to investigate and find out what exactly is going on. As they follow the map, they reach one of the locations marked on it, and as they make their way inside, it looks like an abandoned church where they find a young woman, Ana, who is the same woman from the opening scene of the film, where the German troops crashed the wedding and murdered everyone, but Ana survived with the help of her husband, who was killed.

    She explains how the Germans have been experimenting on the dead, turning them into zombies, until they took it too far and ended up devouring each other, leaving Ana hiding behind in the church. Meanwhile, Jaime finds the papers which included the formula that was created by the Nazis, and he decides to make the political decision of leaving everyone but his men behind, and no one is happy about his decision. As he threatens to leave, he is mauled by a bunch of zombies, who kill him in an instant.

    As the rest try and escape to an underground route, it is revealed that Ana, too, is a zombie and tries to kill them, but they can defeat her. The group manages to escape from the church, but Sister Flor locks herself inside, revealing to the Sargent that she had been bit and she must do what it takes to help them. 

    Jan is keen to find an antidote, end the war, and save his brother too. He plans to enter Las Águilas to try and stop this from spreading and ask them to join him on this quest, and the Sargent has one request, that all his comrades survive. They begin their journey once again, but we see that Decruz might have been bit, but the others are unaware of it. The plan they must execute is simple; they get in, find the antidote and get out. 

    The sun rises as they reach their location, and Jan makes his way in, but his uncle refuses to let him in along with the soldiers and prisoners he claims to bring along with him; but his uncle is soon killed by the German General, who takes charge on the whole situation. Meanwhile, Decruz realizes that he has been bit and decides to sacrifice himself, despite Jan telling him that they will eventually find an antidote. As Decruz makes his way in, he is killed within seconds but soon rises as a zombie, helps blow up the entrance, and assists his comrades in breaking in one last time. 

    As they make their way in, so do plenty of the zombies, and we reach the climax of the film. It is a bloodbath, to say the least, with people dying all over, and you’re unsure of who will make it out alive, and who will be eaten alive; there is no telling. They realize there is no turning back at this point as Sargent, Jan, and Priest Killer continue making their way to the lab.

    Sargent makes his way to the train, hoping to help them escape as the other two make their way to the lab for the antidote, where the German scientist, the same one who shot Jan’s uncle, tells them that there is no antidote and that his work is immortal. Before he can transform into a zombie, Priest Killer shoots him. It isn’t long after that when Jan is bit by a zombie on his hand, and Priest Killer does the only thing that can help him – she chops his hand off. Meanwhile, the zombies climb the train and infiltrate the lab, where Priest Killer and Jan share a passionate kiss before everything blows up. 

    However, they survive as the train begins to move and manage to escape. They begin to part ways as she says she might cross over to France because there’s nothing left for her here, but Jan tries to convince her to stay back, and start a new life. However, she refuses and rides away on her back, never revealing her real name. 

    Do stick around for the end credit scene, as it may potentially indicate a sequel!

    Nazi Zombies, who would have seen that coming?

    Nazi Zombies, who would have seen that coming

    Valley of the dead is a recent war film; however, the crux of the film goes beyond just the Spanish Civil War. It begins with people being killed and because this is a war film, the theme of death and murder stays constant throughout the film, but the plot twist, which comes fairly on in the film is what makes it all the more exciting.

    As the title hints at zombies, it is confirmed that the plot revolves around an experiment performed by the Germans, where they are essentially raising an army of zombies, killing anyone and everyone in their way, trying to win the war. The second plot twist that comes way into the climax is that there is no antidote, and it truly feels like doomsday, no matter what Sister Flor has to say about that. While cinema from all over the world has often dabbled in the war genre and the undead zombie genre, there are only a few that have been known to combine these two.

    Mutations, ruthless experiments, serums, and compounds created by Nazi Germany in films aren’t a new concept, it takes place time and again in every single war film that has anything to even remotely do with Germany. However, as we focus on films with zombies and war, one of the first examples that come to mind is World War Z, where a former United Nations employee finds himself investigating a virus that turns humans into zombies.

    Or the 1977 film, Shock Waves, where a group of tourists encounters aquatic Nazi zombies when they become shipwrecked, proving that this concept has been around for a while. But what separates Valley of the dead from these films are certain elements that include comradery despite their political differences and an impending war. The togetherness of different religions to a zombie attack.

    And while the Germans are the main antagonist of the film, the focus remains off them for the majority of it, at least until the climax. This film tries to focus on the journey of discovering what these creatures are while trying to put their differences aside to try and make it out alive.

    Maybe zombies in war films are the best way to try and get people from different sides to come work together, form an unlikely bond, and truly understand who their enemy is. The zombie horror genre is growing every day, with directors coming up with new ways of trying to include them in films and make them even more ruthless. The war genre has also become a popular one, retelling tales that had once been buried away. So why not mix them? It could easily be a recipe for success. 

    The Cast of Valley of Dead

    The Cast of Valley of Dead

    Apart from the exciting plot twist and the zombies, the one thing that made this film a great watch was the cast. The entire cast embodied their characters perfectly and was able to execute the roles, making it a great watch. 

    We begin with Jan, played by Miki Esparbé, a Spanish actor who is best known for his work in Off Course to China, The One-Eyed King, and Cuerpo de élite. He was the main protagonist of the film and easily the cockiest character that you will come across. From the get-go, we know he’s a nice man, and his banter with Decruz and other characters also makes him entertaining.

    Moving on to Decruz, played by Manel Llunell, who is best known for his work in La Pietà, is one of the most naive and innocent characters; however, his story arc is the best amongst all as he is the reason why they manage to infiltrate the German lab. The cast also includes Aura Garrido, Maria Botto, Luis Callejo, Jesús Carroza, Sergio Torrico, and Álvaro Cervantes, who work perfectly well together, making an almost undefeatable team. 

    Spanish cinema has time and again proven its capability and match when it comes to Hollywood, and this cast doesn’t hold back in trying to do it again, and succeeding as they do so.

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