“If you had the choice between living forever as a ghost or living one more day as a human, what would you choose…?”
…Personally, sign me the hell up to be a ghost! Who doesn’t want the power to go through walls and scare the crap out of people? But this is the contemplative question posed by writer/director Colin West’s haunter, Double Walker, a poetic ghost story which ponders the loneliness of immortality vs the calming warmth of love.
Based on a story by West and star Sylvie Mix, Double Walker follows the ghost of a young woman (Mix), who has returned from the dead to find answers to her murder, viciously getting rid of those responsible along the way by scooping them out of existence with her weapon of choice: A spoon. Yes, a spoon.
Double Walker may sound like your average “revenge from beyond the grave” flick (aside from death by spoon), but it isn’t. Far from it. In fact, it has much more in common with Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. Aside from the fact that is (I think) the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol playing on a TV in the background throughout much of the film, Double Walker also employs a similar tale turned on its head with a murderous bent. Our ghost has died as a little girl, and come back as a grown woman. She monologues about having met three figures—which look like demonic cowboys—who offered her the chance of eternity as a ghost, or one more day as a human. She chose the ghost. Cutting between past, present and future, it’s as if the ghost is her own Christmas spirit, leading herself down a path of spiritual discovery and enjoying killing a few rapey assholes while she’s at it.
Christmas is a time best reserved for spooky ghost stories by the fire while the winter wind howls outside, and that’s exactly the vibe which Double Walker gifts the viewer throughout most of its runtime. Set in a small town on Christmas, West takes us through a somber funeral for our ghost, past lonely, snowy railroads and into the home of our ghost’s Mother (Maika Carter) as she knocks her Christmas tree over, drink in one hand. I want to do the same every time I see Christmas decorations at stores…in October. Ugh. TV static blares, and all through the screen, hardly a creature is stirring. Double Walker is moody Christmas horror that hugs the viewer like an icy chill. You can practically feel the cold air setting into your bones.
West effectively creates an engulfing atmosphere, but Mix that grasps your soul with chilled palms. Get to know the name Sylvie Mix, because she could be one of the next great stars in horror. Wearing nothing but a long, white shirt and sporting raccoon eyes, Mix haunts the screen in a fearless performance. There isn’t much dialogue in Double Walker, but Mix in particular hardly says a word. Between her debut feature Poser and now this, Mix demonstrates an ability to say a lot with a little, and she knows how to get under the viewer’s skin with performances that feel so detached from reality that it’s as if she’s an alien learning how to human.
Which works pretty damn well when the character is a ghost trying to remember how to live.
Mix is just a whole lot of fun to watch. Period. Her quietly seductive ghost in Double Walker reminds me of urban legends like the undead girl on the side of the road. She is that girl, and from the moment her first victim encounters her, we can tell just by looking at her that she’s danger. But this ghost’s victims are all handsy men who like to take advantage of women, and what begins as a sweet encounter of a guy offering her help turns into him wanting to “help” her undress and get into some new clothes at his place. Get him ghost! Double Walker is kind of like Promising Young Woman with a ghost in that sense, but more accurately, the horrific side of the film is an expression of female rage with Mix taking on the role of an Angel of Death and looking the part, too. Mix is like a bear trap hidden under snow, bringing a vulnerability to the role that allows her to manipulate the audience and the victims for a shocking surprise when she suddenly turns violent and relishes in the brutality of it. She even leaves bloody kisses on her victims.
Needless to say, I love this ghost.
Like the title implies, there are two sides to Double Walker, and some viewers may find themselves lost and wandering the icy paths which the film leads them down.
On one hand, Double Walker is a bloody ghost story wrapped in atmospheric chills. On the other, it’s A Christmas Carol style bit of thought-provoking, filmic poetry.
Among Mix’s best qualities is a sort of dreamy voice that fits this narrative perfectly. Double Walker takes us back and forth in time, through nightmares, bloody violence and even a brief love story between our ghost and the one man who can see her but isn’t a total prick, and Mix’s sleepy voice is the tour guide leading us through it all. The revenge plot is only a small piece of the film, which is much more interested in exploring the very core of humanity and whether or not being loved is greater than immortality. It’ll likely be too slow for some, while others will appreciate this emo twist on A Christmas Carol. At a runtime of just over an hour, Double Walker certainly feels like a strange, moving dream, one that isn’t always concerned with making a whole lot of sense. Calling it convoluted might be an understatement. The only spoon feeding going on here is our ghost slurping her victim’s sweet, sweet blood from her spoon of justice.
Double Walker is a quiet ghost story that glides along at an even pace. It isn’t scary, but it is eerie. The narrative is disjointed and confusing, yet deeply engaging thanks to a few touching performances. Don’t seek out Double Walker for a pure horror flick. But if you want something a little more thought provoking that defies genre, then let Double Walker get your ghost, Bob. Or whatever your name is.
Double Walker in now on VOD from Cranked Up Films.
By Matt Konopka