Courtesy Cranked Up Films

The holidays are generally presented with a shiny veneer. It’s the time of year where families get together and everything seems to be all rosy and bright. But, the reality for many families is that the holidays can exasperate issues lying beneath the surface. Tensions easily rise during this time of year, with stress and pressure mounting during this special time of year. Statistically, domestic violence also increases during the holidays, with the previously mentioned factors playing a part. This is something to keep in mind before diving into Colin West’s latest film, DOUBLE WALKER, a ghost story with notes of A Christmas Carol woven throughout.

DOUBLE WALKER is directed by Colin West, who also serves as cinematographer and co-writer on the film. The film stars Sylvie Mix, also serving as producer and co-writer, as a young Ghost haunting her hometown. Throughout the course of the film, we see the Ghost try to recall her past and is drawn to those she believes contributed to her death. One by one, she kills them with a sharp, pointed spoon and drinks their blood. However, her relentless pursuit is disrupted in a chance encounter with Jack (Jacob Rice), a man who approaches her with genuine concern and no ulterior motive. Her introduction to Jack starts to influence the young Ghost as it starts to have an impact on her pursuit of her killers. Will she find peace in the end? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

DOUBLE WALKER is not a perfect film by any means. While the shorter runtime may be appreciated by some viewers, the story itself reads as underdeveloped in some areas. Part of this may have to do with the film’s connection with Scrooge, especially in connection to reflecting on the past, present, and future. There are familiar notes between the referenced material and what happens in the film that makes it easier to follow along in some ways. But it can also create limitations within the screenplay itself. We see this the most through following the Ghost’s journey, especially as we come to connect the dots with the Ghost’s identity, and come across various characters along the way.

Some of the underdeveloped nature when it comes to the characters we see in DOUBLE WALKER can be explained away once we take into account the Ghost’s identity. This seems to be the case, in particular, with the men the Ghost hunts down. The viewer doesn’t see much outside of the bare minimum when it comes to the guilty male characters and their nature. But, once we realize who the Ghost is, and the damning scene that glues everything together, the lack of information makes sense. Things are intentionally told through a limited perspective. This can also be applied to the relationship we see between the Ghost and her mother in the film. Even more so once you take into consideration the domestic violence elements that have impacted both characters. Knowing how that can impact the lack of connection between family members, it becomes easier to justify that disconnect in those particular scenes. That said, not everyone watching will feel this way about these elements.

Courtesy Cranked Up Films

What definitely works from a storytelling perspective is how there’s an air of mystery surrounding the more supernatural elements introduced in the film. Nothing is overly explained which, to this critic, is a godsend. Oftentimes, writers feel the need to overexplain new elements that viewers might not be familiar with. By not explaining the method behind the spoon, the figures we meet along the way, and the more open-ended ending, viewers are left wondering over the mystery. This is where the ghost story in DOUBLE WALKER is a success for me, at least. As an aside, for more horror/supernatural-based fans, the vignettes where the Ghost relays the decisions she was presented with provide fascinating visual moments that linger once the film ends. It also continues that thread of mystery that I keep hitting at.

From a visual perspective, the cinematography works in creating that cold, isolated atmosphere needed for the film. Shot in wintery Ohio, the cooler visual tones paint the picture needed. The costume decisions, in particular, with the Ghost’s wardrobe, also shape the otherworldly nature of the character. Dressed predominantly in whites, the clear visual divide between the Ghost and the living is set. This also contributes to that feeling of overarching isolation that we take away from the visual cues in the film. West also flips the visual script when viewers are taken back to Ghost’s meeting with these mysterious dark figures in the middle of nowhere. Shot in black and white, it creates a distinctive separation between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Kudos must be given to the thought behind this.

Wrapping things up, it is pertinent to discuss the performances in DOUBLE WALKER. Sylvie Mix as the protagonist is perfectly haunting, with the costume, hair, and makeup decisions emphasizing the more ethereal nature of her performance. The transition Mix takes the character from vulnerable and unassuming to a being full of choice and certainty, almost humanity even, is easily marked. Jacob Rice’s Jack provides that necessary light needed in what could easily be a dark, depressing film. Mix and Rice have a great connection together onscreen so that, when certain decisions are made, later on, viewers are able to clearly feel the weight of those decisions based on the relationship they’ve built in their brief screen time together.

Overall, DOUBLE WALKER is flawed, but provides much for the viewer to dissect. Given the pacing of the film and the overall story, the runtime works. Viewers may take issue with the ending and the more open-ended elements in the story, but the decision to end the film the way it has ended is not a safe choice. For that, props should be given for taking that chance. Sylvie Mix is captivating, deftly taking the viewer through the Ghost’s emotions and frame of mind. With Mix’s and West’s storytelling and collaboration, I am curious to see what they come up with next after this because, while there are things that could have been finessed, the lingering effect the film has is telling.

DOUBLE WALKER debuts in select theaters and On Demand this Friday, November 12, 2021.

Sarah Musnicky
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