Death Valley (1982)

   

Directed by: Dick Richards

Co-produced & Written by: Richard Rothstein

Starring:

.... Mike
.... Sally
.... Billy
.... Hal

Special Appearances:

.... Sheriff
.... Paul Stanton

Release Date: Theatrical: May 7, 1982

Rating:

 

A divorced mother Sally (Catherine Hicks), her boyfriend Mike (Paul Le Mat) and her son Billy (Peter Billingsley) go on a road trip and stay at a hotel in Death Valley in which Billy has a hard time adjusting to Mike.
A serial killer is residing at the hotel as well as he watches this kid since he stole something that he left behind in a trailer R.V. after killing some horny teens that once owned it.

 

The beginning of the film at first didn't make me think that this is a horror film but that's what makes it a suprise while continuing to watch as there's a moment with a father and son whom is Paul and Billy in the wintery New York spending time together and then later an emotional scene on Billy confronting his separation as to why it happened which looked well focused while watching their reactions towards all of this and explaining as to why a divorce happened which was well written into the story.
Then when Billy travels to Arizona to see his Mom whom is Sally and her boyfriend Mike things look good with Billy not warming up to him when he tries to be a friend in which alot of this looked realistic within their reactions towards one another.
Then the creepy horrifying moments eventually unravel when there's an old fashioned car approaching behind them and Billy in the back seat spots this which made me wonder if this vehicle will creep up on them as it gave me this impression big time.
Of course in the story there's a trailer parked in a deserted area and two horny couples are almost getting it on as well this is leaving you the chills that the killer will come in as all of this looked suspenseful to watch each piece as to what will happen here.
Later on Billy decides to go wandering around and spots the trailer as well as deciding to go inside of it as we spot that old fashioned car parked nearby as this looked scary to watch wondering if something is going to happen.
Then later on they all go to the diner at the hotel they're staying at with a well focused camera shot on the waiter who happens to be Hal asking mysteriously towards Billy in a creepy charming way as to what he wants to eat and notices an object he's wearing along with what this kid took at the trailer as they are alike along with Hal staring at him in a spooky way which of course left a chill down my spine that later on in the story that the horror will happen to this innocent child.
Traffic is held up when the gang are going on a fun trip as a tragic incident has happened to that trailer they encountered as well as Billy confessing he stole something there to a Sheriff as well as this lawman scolding him a bit for doing that in a lighthearted way which looked well done with their interactions as well as this kid confessing on what he encountered at the diner as this was storngly done watching all of this unravel.
The Sheriff goes to Hal's home to ask some questions and to look around his home as my heart was beating thinking that he was looking for his death trap as things seem too calm here which is a perfect drawing card for a slasher flick.
Billy goes to a fun event which people are dressed up as outlaws in which there's a moment with Billy looking around at stuff and one of the outlaws come in but yet while watching this scene that we get the hint that the killer is dressed up in this uniform which is creepy to watch and wondering if this kid will be okay.
In the story we have to have some campiness in a slasher flick naturally so Billy is left at the hotel with a chubby babysitter who stuffs her face with junkfood which was well concentrated as I was wondering while watching these moments happen as to what's going to happen next. Then this babysitter goes out to get some ice cream in which this is a perfect target for the killer to do her next as I was thinking to myself that this is a bad idea.
The action happens greatly when Billy is pitted against the killer and he tries to get away in many awkward situations especially when he's hiding and happens to be hiding in his car which was creepy as I wondered if he will be discovered.
Then Mike and Sally go to the killers home to try and rescue Billy in which the killer acts clever by jumping on the roof while Mike himself tries to fire his gun or struggling to survive against him which is fast action packed and full of suspense too.
Then we all think the killer is dead but think again in which there's a moment when it looks like he has a twin brother which was really confusing as none of that was explained in the story whatsoever.
Bottom line is that this is a well done flick in which it isn't a typical slasher film as it shows a nice plot with loads of suspense and mysterious situations along with everything grabbing your attention and watching carefully till the end of the flick. Worth checking out.

The acting is very good in which (Mike) really played a likeable type of role who tries to be overly friendly and his best to be kind to everyone. Offers a nice outgoing and charming type of performance. He stood out a great deal while strutting his stuff here as well as coming across well onto the camera. Had the perfect looks and style to whatever he did here. Shows some great energy when the terror happens.
(Sally) shows off some nice spunk into her role and knew on how to act like a good mother in which she brought this to life a great deal. Had the nice wholesome looks and appeal too. I enjoyed as to what she did here showing great characteristics.
(Billy) was a real attention grabber but always had been since he has done those Messy Marvin commercials. Offered some nice pizzaz acting like a happy kid during the beginning of his performance as well as showing a nice saddened emotional attitude later on. Also performs strongly by behaving difficult to get along with in other spots as he made it look truly convincing. Does well acting full of life when pretending to act like Billy the kid and having a good time as he studued this very well. Offers a nice versatality when acting spooked or scared in the situations that were necessary as he shows great energy when acting like this. He was a true character actor.
(Hal) knew his craft as someone whom is demented in which he shows a good creepy charming attitude while waitering at the diner as well as showing off some creepy expressions too. Does well having a calm type of speaking by making himself totally untrustorthy within whatever he did here. Was slick in his appearance too as well as doing a good job by acting deadly whenever he had to act like this.
(Sheriff) had a brief supporting role but I had to mention him as he did a wonderful job making his part as a lawman truly believeable especially when acting lighthearted when talking to a child and somewhat scolding him on stealing. Also does a nice job questioning someone and looking around his home as he really got into this a great deal. Basically played a mr nice guy type of a role and was fond of what he did here.

A woman takes off her top in an R.V. trailer when about to get lustful exposing her breasts.

A couple throats are bloodily slit
Pick axe is impaled in a sheriff's chest

Dana Kaproff offers some great chills with his composing as he certainly knows how to make you be fearful with each scene. The beginning has an uplifting tune with flute and accoustic guitar playing especially during the beginning of the film with a father and son outing. Then later on in the story there's some excellent high pitched screeching violing sounds for when the creepy car approaches driving on the road or more of the powerful sounds here and there when the terror or silent moments occur. Yes folks he knew on how to bring up the horror in every piece.

Babysitter: How bout some ice cream?!
Billy: Banana split.

[Billy has locked himself in the bathroom]
Hal: I'll tell you something, Billy...
Billy: What?
Hal: [starts to force door with knife] We got a hollow door here. It's made in Japan. Billy, I could bust through this really easy, but it would cause a mess. So, what I could do is, I can get the molding off, and I think that's the way to go. Are you all right in there? So, we got a little problem here, but I'll get you out. You stay calm in there. Remember, most accidents happen in the home. There it is. I don't believe that they use doors like this. I'll get you out, don't worry. It's easy as pie. Be careful of that water, now. Remember, you're in the desert! I'll have you out of there in a second. There we go. Now, just one little push, and we're home free.