‘Snow Valley’ Review: A Supernatural Thriller that Never Comes Together

Snow Valley struggles on many levels.

Snow Valley was released online on March 26, 2024.

Table of Contents

What is Snow Valley About?

Rachel Michiko Whitney, David Lambert, and Cooper can Grootal walk down a dark hallway in Snow Valley (2024).
The spooky parts of Snow Valley are almost all contained within the final few minutes of the movie.

Snow Valley is a supernatural thriller from writer and director Brandon Murphy. Murphy previously worked as one of the screenwriters on The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021), and Snow Valley was his directorial debut. Sadly, Brandon Murphy passed away in 2022 while the film was in post production. It was later completed and released in March of 2024.

Heath rests his head on Laura's shoulder as they both smile in Snow Valley (2024).
The relationship between Heath (Cooper van Grootel) and Laura (Rachel Michiko Whitney) takes some drastically sharp turns in Snow Valley.

The story of Snow Valley follows a couple, Laura and Heath, as they spend time at Heath’s palatial family ski chalet in the mountains. What begins as a luxurious weekend getaway turns into an engagement celebration when Heath proposes to Laura. They are joined by two of their friends who arrive just before a winter storm sets in, and another, not-so-welcome friend arrives soon after. But that’s not all. Laura learns that Heath hasn’t been completely open and honest about himself and the house they’re currently staying in. She also senses a mysterious presence in the house that may be trying to make contact with her.

Snow Valley Review

The group gathers at a dinner table with a huge pigs head as the centerpiece in Snow Valley (2024).
The dinner party in the middle of Snow Valley is awkward for multiple reasons. (pictured from left: Cooper van Grootel, Rachel Michiko Whitney, Tom Williamson, Paige Elkington, and David Lambert)

Snow Valley is described as a psychological thriller, and it is also labeled as a horror movie and a comedy on various sites. Though it does contain elements of all of these descriptions, it takes a very long time before the film resembles any of them. The first two-thirds of the movie is a tepid drama about mild issues between two couples and a third wheel (technically a fifth wheel) who shows up and acts erratically. Snow Valley is only about 75 minutes long, and it’s about 50 minutes in before any horror or comedy starts to slowly creep its way in.

Barbra Crampton points at someone in Snow Valley (2024).
Snow Valley could use more screen time for Barbara Crampton. Most movies would be better with more screen time for Barbara Crampton.

There’s a decent story about ghosts, tragedy, and family secrets buried in here somewhere, but unfortunately the whole film misfires on nearly every level. The most constant misfire is the dialogue. Most of the lines in Snow Valley are delivered in a perfunctory way that sounds like the cast is reading a script word for word during a very early rehearsal. This isn’t necessarily meant as a slam on the cast. Of the actors I’ve seen in other productions before—I’m specifically thinking of the great Barbara Crampton who plays a small role mostly towards the end of Snow Valley—they’ve been good. But here, something just isn’t right.

Laura and Heath stand across from each other in a dining room in Snow Valley (2024).
Moments when emotions are supposed to be heightened feel stilted much of the time.

Maybe it’s an issue with editing. Awkward silences surrounding characters’ lines are left in surprisingly frequently. Still, some of the awkwardness likely has to do with the writing. Word choices feel unnatural many times, sometimes to the point of being nonsensical within the context of the scene. On the plus side, the visual quality of Snow Valley is often good, so it’s at least pleasant to look at.

Tom Williamson as Ed in Snow Valley (2024).
The strangeness of Tom Williamson’s character Ed is the most fun part of Snow Valley.

Overall though, reactions from characters are repeatedly bizarre, disproportionate, or completely out of place. The comedy, when it finally arrives, is even more out of place and random. And the horror, when it finally arrives, feels like it’s tacked on and is never given the attention it needs to be in any way effective. It’s all kind of a bummer that makes the movie difficult to stick with until the end.

Who Will Enjoy Snow Valley?

Laura stares out of a window that is reflecting a tree in Snow Valley (2024).
Maybe pass on this one.

I can’t really recommend Snow Valley to anyone. I appreciate that it was completed and released to honor the work of its writer and director Brandon Murphy, but it just isn’t very entertaining. It takes too long to get going, and when it does start moving, it does so in haphazard ways that take away rather than add to its effectiveness. Unfortunately, it’s better to skip Snow Valley.

Snow Valley is currently available to rent or purchase on VOD sites including Amazon Prime Video.

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.