I’m not sure what about the first few minutes of Walk Away had me the most worried. It was a toss-up between the obvious start in the middle of the film opening and the equally obvious lens flares. I had to hope writer/directors Jason Dean and Matthew Nash were better with the follow up than with the opening. The script indeed gets better, enough so that I stopped noticing the lens flares.
The plot is deceptively simple. Five friends, Samantha (Alyssa Talbot), Rachael (Faith Kelly), Eli (Ben Boko), Annie (Amy Zubieta) and Mike (Chris J. Faria) rent a cabin in the woods. Shortly after they arrive Sam wanders off trying to get a signal for her phone. And suddenly finds herself in the cabin’s attic. The guys try to walk to where they left the car and the same thing happens.
They’re trapped, stuck on an eternal vacation. But can they find a way out before the supplies run out? The refrigerator keeps refilling itself so they won’t starve. But things like toilet paper and tampons aren’t provided. More importantly, can they get out before they drive each other to homicide. Jean-Paul Sartre said “Hell is other people”. They’re about to find out just how true those words are.
I know some of you are thinking this doesn’t sound so bad. Perpetual vacation with your best friends and an endless supply of food and beer. And up until recently, I might have agreed. But having been stuck at home for months thanks to COVID-19 I can see just how bad it could be, toilet paper shortages included.
Walk Away leaves a lot of questions unanswered, including what is going on. Why can’t they leave? Why hasn’t anyone come looking for them? Or noticed that this keeps happening? But the film is less about that than it is about the fraying sanity of the people trapped in the cabin. And on that level, it’s actually quite good.
We find out about the problem within the film’s first fifteen minutes. From there on Walk Away details their attempts to do just that, and their growing fear and desperation as they continually fail to do so. It’s a darker variation on Groundhog Day. Though not as dark as say The Triangle or Koko-di Koko-da. At least, not at first. But as the seasons change, tempers, and sanity, start to fray.
Of course, it’s a slow burn as they gradually unravel. But once things hit critical mass and blood is spilled the pace picks up as Walk Away moves into its final act. I can see some people still finding it to slow. I found it a nicely done bit of psychological horror.
Walk Away is available to stream. You can check out the film’s website for more information.