WALT is a horror short hailing from the Emerald Isle from Dunsany Productions. The film clocks in at 25 minutes and has a small but capable cast of five. It opens following young James as he walks the Irish country side. Great camerawork and a fitting soundtrack give the film a pastoral feel. The trees and paths wind by as James continues his trip until he runs into Walt. Walt is a kindly blind old man sitting on the bank of the creek passing time fishing. James tries to be unobtrusive and prepares to leave when Walt asks if he would mind helping him fetch his pills from his bag.
The two begin a friendship with James rushing to visit with Walt every day after school James shares his trials and travails with Walt. He shares his struggles at home, his mother has passed on the year prior and his father has fallen into drink; and he is bullied something terribly at school. Walt provides advice only age and wisdom allow and helps the youngster in what seems to be playing out as a heartfelt coming of age story.
Writer and director Randal Plunkett and co-writer Oliver Plunkett have set this up to play perfectly as such a tale. That is until they decide to turn the whole world they’ve created on its ear as the viewer watches helplessly and falls into the depths of WALT’s true darkness. Then James brings his friend Ellie along to meet Walt and after an episode he needs his medicine which he left at home. When at the American ex-pat’s house he sends James to the shed to find his spare bottle of meds leaving him alone with Ellie. WALT then plays out as a tale of utter betrayal and cannibalism.
One of the more delightful shocks is how the camerawork is adept shooting sprawling lush exteriors and establishing shots and switches to dark, claustrophobic, modern-gothic interiors. This film is beautifully shot and well edited. The acting is quite capable as well from Cian Lavelle-Walsh as James to the boisterous performance of John Regan as Walt. The set design is for the shed looks like something from a nightmare though it seems mundane. What little needed to be done in the way of effects just amplified what was already suitably grotesque.
What is truly horrifying is how this explores the bounds of trust and friendship. How well can we say we know anyone? What interests or motivation lie at the heart of others? WALT looks at these relationships and shows that things are definitely not always what they seem.
Check this one out if you are able. WALT has been showing at some festivals this month and if you’re lucky you may be able to catch it near you. You can keep abreast of any news concerning WALT here at their Facebook page.