The Walking Path starts with best friends Mike (Mike Finland) and Jordan (Nick Foreman) watching the 1990 remake of The Night Of The Living Dead. But, as engrossed as they are by that film, their hunger gets the best of them. So, seeing as it is only 8 pm, it’s suggested to take “the walking path” — a dimly lit, ominous shortcut — to get to the new pizza place.
While hesitant, Mike and Jordan set forth discussing zombies and other horror topics. However, they soon feel as if they are not alone on their journey towards sustenance. Is the cause of their jangled nerves too many frightening films? Or is something unnatural and horrifying sneaking around the path these two friends are on?
The Walking Path is one of Elmwood Productions’ most straightforward horror entries. By that, I mean there is very little levity, just the setup and a sense of unease that permeates every second of the 4-minute short. Writer-director Rick Passmore uses that short timeframe to deliver one single shock/fright to great effect. Interestingly, the prologue (as in anything before the opening title sequence), where Mike and Jordan realize how hungry they are, is shot in black and white, while the latter half is in color. This adds to the scare factor, as while the duo is at home, things are normal, and the transition symbolizes the strange happenings the two find themselves trapped in. It is a clever and subtle way of pushing that foreboding atmosphere without calling direct attention to it.
“…is something unnatural and horrifying sneaking around the path these two friends are on?”
It certainly helps matters that the puppets, all designed by Bristol, look amazing. The creatures, when they finally are revealed, are single-colored, eyeless, and ghoulish in all the right ways to be terrifying. They are quite the departure from the leads, as they look like regular humans and the juxtaposition from the normal to the not again adds to the creep factor.
Plus, the puppeteers perform their characters well throughout the entirety of The Walking Path. The way they walk is believable, and the quaking in their boots upon seeing the creatures really sells how scared they are more than words can. Plus, Passmore’s direction is slow and methodical, making every second of the intense 4-minute runtime feel either so normal it is blase or so scary it is unbearable.
The Walking Path is introduced to audiences by the horror host Midnight Gil, whose goofy antics may see audiences put their walls down. Then the short proper begins and hits viewers with one solid scare that it absolutely earns. Yes, some of the night shooting is unfocused and oddly lit, but that hardly matters when one is talking about a puppet-starring horror film this damn cool.
"…a sense of unease...permeates every second..."