However, I’ve always been a storyteller, and I wrote my first novella in the sixth grade. In fact, that work got me sent to the principal’s office. Oh, it wasn’t for what you might be thinking; rather, the seasoned administrator wanted to offer me some words of encouragement over my Science Fiction tale. It’s not the kind of work one would necessarily do anything with – having looked back at it years later, there’s an awful lot of naivety in there – but I mention this because from time-to-time I get asked my career since I’ve written so much about film. My position is that, as a storyteller, it’s the story that matters most to me, and I love it when a new flick tickles my fancy.
Performances? They come and go.
Directors? They have hits and misses.
But great stories e-n-d-u-r-e because they resonate as art with those who find them. Stories have an implacable ability to seep into the mind, heart, and soul of the audience. They lift us up. They inspire us to attempt things we formerly wouldn’t. They encourage us to think about ourselves, our place in the world and even the wider universe; and it’s for these reasons that we go back to them – time and time again – to revisit their charm, their magic, and their lessons that have been lost in the day-to-day drudgery that can be so much of our daily lives.
If you let it, then you might find that Double Walker has just that potential. Directed and co-written by Colin West, it’s an inspired look at the afterlife that ends in such a way that you might question what you just saw. Like seeing a ghost, you wonder if it really happened … or did you imagine it? Alas, as an independent feature, fewer folks will likely seek it out. Some of this is (sadly) owed to the explosion of content available across today’s entertainment spectrum, but methinks three decades ago this innocent chiller may’ve been an arthouse sensation for audiences who love stories that make you think.
From the product packaging:
“A young Ghost haunts her Midwestern hometown, trying to piece together the horrific flashes of memories from her past. One by one she kills the men she believes were responsible for her death, though her plan is derailed when she meets Jack, a kind movie theater usher who inadvertently intercedes as she’s stalking her next victim. While Jack takes her in and offers her a glimpse at a normal life, her desire to avenge her own murder lingers on.”
Undoubtedly, ghosts occupy a special place in our culture.
While some see them as benign spirits in transition somehow between this world and the next, still others insist these specters are bound to remain here until they’ve accomplished a task of greater import than perhaps even the life they led. I’ve read articles which suggest over fifty percent of us believe in ghosts, though the statistics do vary widely when researchers try to dip deep into questions of their purpose. Ghosts have been the subject of books, movies, and television shows; and I suspect our collective fascination with them will outlive practically anything else that goes bump in the night.
Though tales involving ghosts can explore any theme imaginable, it’s commonly accepted that their roles in fiction serve one of two purposes: either they’re here to steer us toward redemption, or they’re hellbent on extracting revenge.
It’s a dynamite journey that’s delivered with somewhat stoical conviction by Mix. As Ghost, she can go anywhere, see anyone, and do anything she wants, but those somewhat magical things do not interest her. In death, she only comes alive – as it were – when she’s headed down the course she’s chosen, that of retaliation. Otherwise, she strolls casually, unimpressed, unaffected, and still almost angelically through her bizarre afterlife once she learns that there are those who can – somehow – still see, touch, and communicate with her. Though this apathy finally breaks once she develops a friendship with Jack (Jacob Rice) and she begins to experience a life she never had, her soul has already been tainted by the evil she’s committed, forcing her to change her ways before it’s really too late.
There is one thing that’s universal when you’re dealing with stories about ghosts: they’re always about ‘endings.’ One ending – death – leads the living to places where they contemplate the life they’ve led; but what happens when the dearly departed gets that same chance? To contemplate the life she’s living after she’s died? That’s the kind of cerebral exercise that opens doors to places where even angels fear to tread, and I suspect our Ghost never expected she’d find her broken spirit seeking redemption from the revenge she originally chose when her Maker gave her the chance.
Because this is an independent feature, it’s not going to please everyone, but Double Walker should not be taken lightly. A bit melancholy and more than a bit reflective, it’s a powerful testament to indie flicks done well, following in the tradition (but not necessarily thematically) of Mike Flangan’s Absentia (2011) or Adam Stovall’s A Ghost Waits (2020). Who knows? Its Dickensian influence might even have viewers wondering if they’ve somehow been visited by three ghosts: the experience of watching this might have some rethinking their own respective trajectories. After all, just because it’s a small feature doesn’t its message need be.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Kino Lorber and Cranked Up provided me with a complimentary Blu-ray of Double Walker (2021) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.