REVIEW: ‘Possum Walk’

Death wears a non-descript white mask in "Possum Walk".
Death wears a non-descript white mask in "Possum Walk".

I am a city boy. I want to live somewhere surrounded by concrete, near a bustling road with sodium streetlights pigmenting the world in their pale tangerine hues. I need Internet, cable TV and a good Chinese restaurant I can go to at three in the morning if I want to. Born here, raised here and will probably die here.

If I’m really lucky, it will be of natural causes.

Ironically, something just doesn’t feel natural about small towns to me. They just feel so… normal. Too normal, even and like they say, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I remember going to a little town in Colorado once that looked like it was straight out of a picture postcard, so naturally I thought there had to be something weird and disturbing going on there. All small towns are like that.

“Possum Walk” proves me right.

Director Jeremy Sumrall first feature starts fairly ambitiously. First, we see a hammer wielding killer dispatching a young woman walking to her sister’s bachelorette party. Next, we meet Faith Carpenter (Maggie Conwell) and her preacher father, Brother William (Parrish Randall). Unlike most preachers’ kids, Faith (or Faithy as she’s often referred to) is a good girl who walks the relatively straight and narrow – probably in no small part to Brother William being just a bit on the intense side. Add into this mix, Faithy’s gaggle of friends which includes the archetypically slutty, Grace (Keli Wolfe) and the cute “new kid in town,” Joe Don (Tyler Tackett). Like any good small-town tramp trying to help her friend out, she crudely suggests Faithy and Joe Don engage in any number of high school mating rituals – probably not the best thing to do with Brother William standing within earshot but it does add another layer of conflict to the movie.

And did I mention there’s a killer on the loose?

Not only that, but apparently it’s something Brother William and the Sherriff (Tim Taylor) are trying to keep on the down low… just like Brother William’s predilection for doing coke off a hooker’s ass. Yet another layer. And as if all this wasn’t enough, Faithy has been having fainting spells which the all-knowing Dr Thompson (Andrew Sensenig) attributes – without the benefit of even an EPT – to young virginal Faithy being pregnant.

And did I mention there’s a killer on the loose?

“Possum Walk” is your garden variety micro-budget film which means you have to put your blinders on to the usual gremlins that plague them: dodgy sound, spotty acting and curious practical effects. What I couldn’t turn a blind eye to, however, was the script and the storytelling. “Possum Walk” was full of storylines that, on their own, could have easily made a compelling A-story. Instead, they’re all shoehorned into the film giving it a vaguely fractured feeling that stretches credibility to the breaking point. A certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required for almost any film watching, but it’s the writer’s or the director’s or (even as a last line of defense) the editor’s role to step in and say, “We need to cut this bit out to make a tighter, more entertaining story.” The “virgin birth/spiritual” aspect could have been an intriguing tale. Likewise, the “pastor leading a double life” could have been some gritty fun as well. Unfortunately, these were just two elements out of a handful all fighting for relevance. I think that this “many-headed beast” of storylines also prevented the characters from being developed in anything more than a cursory way which is a shame considering that there were some nice performances. I’m pretty sure Tyler Tackett was channeling Skeet Ulrich’s doe-eyed maniac from 1996’s “Scream”.

Ultimately, “Possum Walk” serves up Velveeta slices of White Trash USA at the end of the gene pool where the chlorine never reached. Like any small town blue working class Joe, it’s a hard worker trying hard to do many things but ends up doing none of them well.

Joe Lopez
Dubbed, "TerrorScribe" by a former editor, Joe made the conversion to horror sometime in the mid-2000s. Little did he know he'd favored the genre all of his life. When not struggling with short stories, he provided genre film reviews for local entertainment sites and later genre sites who could suffer his cynical views.

It was that same cynicism - and some might say hubris - that lead him to have a brief flirtation with filmmaking. His first two efforts, "Annotated" and "Antes Que Seja Tarde (Before It's Too Late)" both premiered at a local H.P. Lovecraft film festival. A third short, "Survivor Girl" proved to be his undoing though plans are in the works to revived the cursed project.

Born and raised in Dallas, TX., Joe now resides in a small Texas town. Statistics say more dead bodies turn up in small towns that big cities... though he claims to have NOTHING to do with that.
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4 thoughts on “REVIEW: ‘Possum Walk’

  1. Thank you very much for taking the time to watch the film and give us an honest review, we really appreciate it!

  2. Yay for another Possum Walk review! I have to agree on the multi-headed bit, there was almost too much going on I feel to completely engaged the viewer, as well as no real feeling of foreshadowing to the truth behind the weird going’s on. However, it’s an entertaining ride and I’d watch it again <3

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