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those who walk away

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‘Those Who Walk Away’ review: One of the strangest movies of the young year

Strangely captivating.

Those Who Walk Away spends the first ten minutes following a casual stroll filled with inane conversation. Max (Booboo Stewart) and Avery (Scarlett Sperduto) recently met on a dating app. After their initial plans do not work out as planned, their first date takes them to a haunted house where they encounter a horrible creature and even more terrifying secrets.

The two leads are hard to watch. Before he begins his long conversation with Avery, Max has a talk with a friend of his that feels like it goes on forever. Max is socially awkward, anxious, and lacks confidence. None of this makes him a bad person, but it does make him a difficult person to spend an hour and a half with. Especially since Those Who Walk Away is not interested in character development.

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Making matters worse is Avery is an incredibly unlikable person. She quickly proves to be untrustworthy and has a passive aggressive attitude that becomes annoying very quickly. On the plus side, Those Who Walk Away seems to want to paint her in a negative light. Unfortunately, the film suffers from inconsistency. The camerawork is all over the place starting with a poorly done split screen. This leads to a weird scene that initially seems like a joke, then quickly morphs into something else. The camera speeds up at odd times, flips upside down, and even goes into first person. There is way too much going on.

The plot is even more nonsensical. Once the story kicks into high gear, it is almost impossible to follow. One set piece looks like a relic from The Black Lodge in Twin Peaks while another segment liberally borrows from The Blair Witch Project – complete with handprints on the walls. Those Who Walk Away has some creepy imagery, but nothing else going for its story. The ending is shockingly good. There is satisfaction and closure that is not usually found in horror movies. It is too bad the rest of the movie is not worth watching.

Those Who Walk Away comes to theaters and VOD February 11

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