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The Independent Critic

Ronald Prouty, Jayme McCabe, Rebecca Lee Reynolds, Galen Howard, Tod Purvis & John Kirk
Travis Greene
Ronald Prouty
10 Mins.

 "Deer Head Valley" Review 
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As Deer Head Valley begins, a derelict woman (Rebecca Reynolds) and her male companion are holding an innocent man captive with his fate perhaps to be determined by District Attorney Kevin Ralston (Ronald Prouty). Due to arrive in court to close out plea bargain negotiations involving a local gang member, D.A. Ralston is nowhere to be found.

A delightfully dark and demented horror thriller written by Ronald Prouty and directed by Travis Greene, Deer Head Valley goes places you never expect, says things you can't quite believe and yet does it all with such insane conviction that it's impossible to not just plain enjoy this recently completed 10-minute short that is just now getting ready to hit the film festival circuit.

Greene, who directed the highly successful short film Guillermo, succeeds again thanks to a terrific ensemble cast, a killer idea and dialogue from Prouty that is practically begging to be made into a feature film. Prouty proved with Guillermo that he's a gifted up-and-coming actor able to play straight and freakin' nuts simultaneously. With Deer Head Valley, Prouty takes his character all over the place without ever really giving away exactly where he's going. To his massive credit, he's so appealing here that you'd likely follow him anywhere.

Rebecca Reynolds is also uncomfortably awesome as his mistress with a performance that is sort of a distant, darker cousin to that of Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers. The remainder of the cast is strong as well, but when it comes down to it this is a showcase for Prouty.

The camera work by Pavel Dyban and John MacDonnell is so top notch you practically forget this is a low-budget indie short. With Prouty's script and performance going all over the place, Dyban and MacDonnell had quite the challenge in shifting the camera's tones and angles to fit the film's ever-changing action. While low-budget films can often suck in the arena of make-up, Corri Greene does a great job from the courtroom to the secluded room where our innocent victim awaits his fate.

Deer Head Valley was shot on location in Sun Valley in high definition, which could have sabotaged the film's grittiness but actually helps provide a contrast for the different worlds in which the action takes place. The film is just getting ready to hit the film festival circuit and, once again, Greene and his cast and crew should find themselves quite busy throughout festival season.