A man wakes in a vineyard next to the body of a young woman. He has no memory of who he is, who the girl is or what happened to her. He wanders into a nearby guesthouse and spends the week trying to solve two mysteries: the murder of the girl and his own true identity.
The Valley (originally titled Weinberg) is a German murder mystery mini series. It has been called "Germany's Answer to Twin Peaks" and with good reason. Not only does it centre around the mysterious death of a beautiful young woman, but it is also reminiscent in style of David Lynch's work. It's a slow moving drama (well, compared with Twin Peaks it's positively lightning speed, but The Valley has only 6 episodes to play with and still feels languid and unhurried), full of strange characters and spooky encounters. It is set in a picturesque village in Germany surrounded by vineyards on misty mountain slopes, and unlike many German series that are shot in South Africa, this one was filmed on location so the lighting gives it a much more authentic look. The forest and the village itself have a fairy tale appearance and the beauty of the place made me nostalgic for the village I stayed in in Germany as a teenager (though it was to the best of my knowledge entirely free of bizarre supernatural events).
The Valley has a talented cast. The hero (actually unnamed, though he calls himself Johannes Fuchs) played by Friedrich Mücke, with his handsome features and intense gaze, provides a little eye candy for the ladies and Antje Traue (who was Faora-Ul in Man of Steel) positively smoulders as Hanna Zepter, wife of the irascible mayor (Arved Birnbaum). The supporting cast includes Max Mauff (who plays Felix in the popular Netflix series Sense8), as Kirk and Jonah Rausch as the young Adrian Donatius.
By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27439664
The plot is very dark, with a few startling moments I didn't see coming. It takes a while to get going, and I was beginning to worry that the loose ends would not all be tied up by the last episode, but it does get there. There are disturbing themes and some violence, though it is nowhere near as graphic as many modern crime shows. There is coarse language, mostly in German (though Kirk's terrible punk band are called The Angry F***s and make liberal use of the 'f' bomb) and the frequent use of the word "retarded" in the English subtitles to describe the traumatised Adrian may offend some viewers.
The Valley is an atmospheric murder mystery mini series for fans of David Lynch or European mysteries with a supernatural flavour like the Swedish series Jordskott (2015) and Angelby (2015). It is well worth watching for its spooky atmosphere and beautiful melancholic scenery.