Miracle Valley

It’s off the grid and off the map, a road trip to a place without an address, only a set of coordinates; Sarah is suspicious but David’s focus is sharply on the target, a photographer invited to Miracle Valley, Arizona, following a sighting of the rare silver hawk, believing if he can capture the elusive bird it will be a major career coup, but while that much is true there are things he has not told Sarah who is under the impression they will have time alone.

Angry at the deception when the friends David has invited are waiting for them, any argument lost before it has even begun, Sarah instead decides to pursue her own interests; having already sighted a poster for “Father Jake’s Great Awakening,” when they encounter the man in question he is aggressive towards David but charming towards her, and she agrees to attend what she presumes will be a new age consciousness ceremony, but Father Jake’s interests are as unusual and specific as the donation expected after the sermon.

Written and directed by The Haunting of Bly Manor‘s Greg Sestero who also plays David, he is impatient, controlling and inconsiderate of the feelings of others, particularly Sarah (Angela Mariano), a woman who in other circumstances might not be so willing to follow Father Jake (Rick Edwards) regardless of his admiration of her aura, an outlier even in a town of eccentrics in his leather biker jacket and dog collar, but most importantly he seems genuinely interested in her while David has eyes only for the silver hawk.

The wide-eyed welcome to Miracle Valley not all it seems, the devotion of Father Jake’s smiling flock is complete, a cult whose goal is to separate David and Sarah, abandoning him to die alone on a mountainside, a victim of his own single-minded obsessions, while she will receive attention reserved only for very special guests on account of a gift she is not even aware is in her possession.

His charisma undeniable and powerful, Father Jake’s deluded proclamations are no more self-important than those of David’s pompous “friends” with whom Sarah had no desire to spend time drinking beer in the sun, the unforgiving radiance atypical of horror but offering no respite or shadow in which to hide and the shift from dipping a toe into the crazy pool to finding herself frantically splashing about in the deep end a swift one with no turning back.

Grim, gory and occasionally a little bit silly, Miracle Valley is at times gleefully over the top, a synthesis of every flavour of out-of-towners who arrive in a backwater town ruled by a murder cult from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Race with the Devil through to more recent films such as Threshold and Dementer, though with a modern twist hybridised into Father Jake’s particular quest for apotheosis.

Miracle Valley’s UK premiere took place at FrightFest



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons