Valley of the Dead Plot Synopsis
Set during the Spanish Civil War, our story follows Captain Jan Lozano, who’s on the verge of being killed when we first meet him. Lined up in front of a firing squad, he’s saved by his uncle, who just so happens to be a General.
After headbutting a judge and facing treason charges, Jan is given a get-out-of-death-free card. He’s tasked with traveling across to an officer on the other side of a Republican-held valley. Assigned a cowardly driver called Decruz, the pair head out… and immediately run into trouble.
Captured by Republicans, the duo find themselves in over their heads, as the dead start to rise and the two sides are forced to join into an uneasy alliance to survive.
What’s on the letter?
After being captured by the Soviet squad, Jan is forced to hand over his letter. In doing so, it seems there’s a simple message that’s bordering on trolling. Jan believes he’s been screwed over by his Uncle and wrestles with this through most of the first half of this movie.
After surviving the first wave of undead soldiers, the characters make their way to a safehouse in the forest where they find the place occupied by Sister Flor, Jurel and a sharpshooter colloquially referred to as “Muslim.”
During these quiet moments of reflection, Jan burns a side of the letter to reveal a detailed map of the entire region inside. This had been drawn with invisible ink and now it would appear they have a clear target to strive for. (And the giant X is also a pretty big giveaway for where they need to go next!)
The map – written entirely in German – hints toward the Nazis being aware of the zombie hordes. Suspecting they may be behind this, they head off for the village that was shown during the opening prologue of the movie, which is where this whole undead nightmare began.
What happened in this village?
When the survivors from the group approach the village, they stumble upon a bride named Ana, who’s hiding inside the church. She reveals that the Nazis opened fire on all the villagers and then threw strange canisters of blue gas toward the dead, which then subsequently caused them to return to life.
The Nazi officers watched from the bell tower, laughing as the undead began to massacre the remaining villagers. Ana hid in the church and managed to survive.
Is there a traitor among the group?
After hearing Ana’s story, one of the group, Jaime, finds all the documents pertaining to this experiment. He snatches them up and looks set to take off. His whole stake in this plan has been finding the documents for this experiment, a new drug the Nazis have developed to raise the dead.
With all of these in hand, he tells the others he intends to give this to the Soviets so they can have a new bioweapon. However, he’s killed by zombies before that happens.
How does Jan intend to stop the zombie plague?
With time of the essence, Jan deduces that the group need to head off to Las Aguilas, a Nazi-Spanish Nationalist Outpost. Having noticed the train has the same symbols as the Nazi experiment documents, it would appear that this steam train is the catalyst for everything and could well hold an antidote. After all, the Nazis wouldn’t develop something like this without a failsafe…would they?
Jan convinces the others to join him in this plight, pointing out that his own brother is actually a member of the Republican Army, despite his allegiance.
Jan’s Uncle is actually alongside the Nazis and he refuses to let them in when they show up, hitting firing shots on the floor to stave them off. He also confirms that there are planes en-route, about to drop bombs on the whole valley to kill all the common people.
Does Jan find the antidote?
As the film reaches its climax, all hell breaks loose. Decruz allows himself to be turned into a zombie but manages to blow open the front gates to the Outpost in the process. Zombies flood inside and attack the Nazis.
Our uneasy alliance also join the fray too, with Jurel and Mecha killed inside a car they take refuge in when they’re surrounded by zombies. Realizing there’s no way out, they decide to sacrifice themselves to kill off some of these zombies. The car is laced with explosives so they blow it sky-high.
Meanwhile, Jan and the Priest Killer find the Nazi officer, who reveals the undead serum was his idea. The idea here was to make a bioweapon to kill enemies before the rival Soviets strike. Unfortunately, there is no antidote.
Do Jan and the others survive?
With all their hopes pinning on the bombers en-route, Jan and Priest Killer manage to save the former’s life after he was bitten by cutting his hand off. It stops the infection, as the severed hand begins to turn black. Priest Killer takes off with Jan and the pair take shelter in a small glass compartment at the end of the coach.
Sargento has also survived and manages to get the train started. Sadly, he’s surrounded by zombies and shoots himself in the head.
As the train leaves the tunnel, the bombs are dropped, killing all the zombies while Jan and Priest Killer share a kiss.
How does Valley of the Dead end?
Jan and Priest Killer survive the horrors of the undead and go their separate ways. Jan tries to learn what Priest Killer’s real name is but she doesn’t reply, smiling knowingly before riding off in her motorcycle.
However, the post-credit sequence sees the camera pan up to reveal the undead threat may not actually be over after all. A single hand curls, gripping the severed metal of the train carriage. A guttural scream fades us to black, leaving the door open for a possible sequel.
Despite this little tease, the film closes out everything nicely, with Jan and Priest Killer surviving their ordeal and heading off in opposite directions.
Read More: Valley of the Dead Movie Review