‘There’s always a price to pay’
Those Who Walk Away is a 2021 American horror film about a young couple on a first date who venture into a haunted house.
Written and directed by Robert Rippberger (Public Enemy Number One; Strive; 7 Days in Syria), loosely based on Ursula Le Guin’s short story ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’. Produced by KT Kent, Robert Rippberger and Sandeep Sekhar.
The SIE Films-Argentic Productions movie stars Booboo Stewart (American Satan; He Never Died; Tales of Halloween; 666: The Child), Scarlett Sperduto (Float; Strive; Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector; Wanted 2008), Nils Allen Stewart, Bryson Jon Steele, Nancy Harding, Grant Morningstar and Connor McKinley Griffin.
Max (Booboo Stewart) and Avery (Scarlett Sperduto) are on their first date, having met on a social media app.
Their evening together takes a perilous turn when they decide to visit a local haunted house, the home of ‘Rotcreep’, a sinister creature that rots your body and soul with one touch.
As the night turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse Max and Avery begin to realise the trauma they share may either save them or erupt into an unforgettable nightmare…
Despite the somewhat contrived nature of the dialogue, the languid first third of Those Who Walk Away is intriguing enough and does at least capture some of the awkwardness of many a first date. The fact that it is shot in one long continuous take is also impressive so kudos to leads Booboo Stewart and Scarlett Sperduto plus the production crew for pulling that off.
Unfortunately, once the young couple ventures into the ‘haunted house’ things soon descend into the kind of torpid wandering-about-in-the dark-with-occasional-flashes-of-light we’ve all suffered before. It’s not as uninspiring as most found footage bores because at least there’s a creepily effective classical score by Dmitrii Miachin to elevate proceedings for a while. That helps. But the much-anticipated Rotcreep ghoul hardly gets a look-in before some pointless mild kitschiness leads to a rather predictable and protracted denouement that would have been better suited to a short story (from which the film was loosely adapted).
Overall, there is simply not enough plot to justify Those Who Walk Away’s 95-minute running time and most patient horror fans are advised to Keep Well Away. What a shame; both the trailer and early scenes showed so much promise.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“There are some pretty good ideas here, but the backstory of Rotcreep is confusing and contradictory […] and he doesn’t appear until comparatively late in the film (they don’t even get into the house until 45 minutes in) […] I would have liked to have seen a little less small talk and a little more development of the haunting set-up, but to be truthful, this isn’t bad so much as it makes a few missteps.” Cinema 365
” …I found myself wishing for more cuts and edits in order to amp up the horror of a creature like the Rotcreep. Those Who Walk Away is best during the dramatic build-up to the haunted house, when Stewart and Sperduto are just walking and talking, spinning a tale of horror that never quite materializes.” Nightmarish Conjurings
“The bare bones of a backstory are there, but too many important details are left out for it to be effective. Rotcreep had some serious potential with his ability but he’s barely in the film, and too much about how he became what he is was left unexplained. What’s left is a film, that while at times interesting, fails as a horror movie.” Voices from the Balcony
VMI Worldwide will release Those Who Walk Away theatrically in select US locations and On-Demand (VOD) on February 11th 2022.
Cast and characters:
Booboo Stewart … Max
Scarlett Sperduto … Avery
Nils Allen Stewart … Rotcreep
Bryson Jon Steele … Rudy
Nancy Harding … Max’s Mom
Grant Morningstar … Phillip
Josh Bradshaw … Firefighter
Connor McKinley Griffin … Dave
Michael Holub … Bartender
Devin Keaton … Jake
Daryl Anisfeld … Max’s Mom
Yash Gajera … Bar Patron
Beau Elliott … Young Man #1
Dante Yatel Narvaez … Young Man #2
Kim Smith … Townsperson
Alexis Curtiss … Young Avery
Ethan Wieland … Young Man #3
Brandon Leonard … Young Phillip
Paula Macfarlane Van Kuren … Townsperson
Steve Hausler … Townsperson
1 hour 35 minutes
The dating couple intended on seeing The Evil Dead (1981) but there is a bomb scare at the movie house.
Ignore the obviously fake rating on IMDb which is, at the time of writing, a suspiciously positive 7.5/10 so presumably, it has been bolstered by family, friends and the filmmakers themselves upvoting it.