the Dog is one
of the weirdest film experiences I have ever had - certainly in
recent memory. Unfortunately, the ability to have a unique mind-trip
automatically equate to experiencing something truly worthwhile. That
exactly the case with this experimental hodgepodge of conflicting
clash with one another rather than blend seamlessly into a solid,
stars Rook Kelly as Waldo - a disturbed young
man who wears a dog mask to cope with the nature of his deranged mind
daily basis. The film begins with a series of murders enacted by our
"protagonist" Waldo. These acts of violence are all against murderers,
and a larger variety of criminals who have committed horrible
humanity. The film then flashes quickly to
'Three Years Earlier' and we begin to see documents (slowly, poorly
how a mentally-disturbed young man was stalking a young woman, and
how the man needed a restraining order and psychiatric evaluation. It
take long to figure out that these documents are referring to Waldo. In
next scene we witness a heinous crime being committed by an unmasked
man - the guy
that would later wind up wearing a dog mask. Then with some brisk
push through time happens remarkably fast and the film takes its
audience to 'Two
Years Later' (a year prior to the opening scene). A mask-wearing man
the streets. Waldo, by all appearances, now spends most of his days
garbage, holding up signs saying offensive things like "Willing to give
pleasure for cash", sitting around quiet parks doing absolutely
trying to learn how to become a wrestler, and then eventually stalking a
woman (of course). Apparently Waldo still has the stalker-bug in him.
is at this point in the film that Jaquelyn (Jaquelyn
Xavier) is introduced as the young woman being stalked by this clearly
mentally-disturbed man. Eventually they bump into each other. Was it by
coincidence? Nope. Jaquelyn find's Waldo in her home watching her while
his mask. She yells at him to get out and chases him out of her home.
She is a seemingly
normal woman - she looks sane and acts like a ditz but yet somehow she
to go find this obvious stalker and question him about what he was
doesn't speak a word but the two communicate. Jaquelyn asks questions -
with his body language. They quickly seem to hit it off and essentially
pair starts to behave as a boyfriend/girlfriend might - you know...
stalking issue, the dog mask, lack of real communication, and other
issues (such as the fact Jaquelyn seems incredibly normal). Jaquelyn is even kind enough to come up with a
name for her mysterious friend who doesn't speak to her - and she
name is 'Waldo' while they eat McDonalds. The man in the mask responds
positively to this and claims the name.
won't bother ruining the movie's entire sequence
of events or its ending (which managed to take me by surprise). The
minutes or so are interesting enough, but then they are followed by an
so of content that feels like an actual chore to sit through. The film
more interesting towards the ending with the interactions between
Waldo increasing my enjoyment, and yet these scenes don't even come
truly working on a fundamental level. Waldo
the Dog almost plays like a parody of sorts as the humor is rather
awkward and never makes it possible to actually care about these
especially hard to become emotionally invested in the lead character
he's not portrayed as sympathetic during the majority of the film. Once
Waldo had been a stalker and that he continued down this path (not to
I had of an earlier event in the story) it made it impossible for me to
consider rooting for the character. If I had any lingering doubts, one
film's final scenes cemented my opinion. When Waldo opens up a sheet of
and read's three words: "I forgive you", I was both flabbergasted and
by what I had witnessed.
film would perhaps play better if the opening
acts had not been revealed until the end of the film, and if the
stalking-aspect had been toned down or removed altogether from the
portions of the story. Unfortunately, the first hour or so would be
no matter how it had been edited - a short film might have served the
structure better but then I would have seen the ending coming and the
have been ruined.
acting was never particularly impressive. I
often had the feeling that many moments were improvised and poorly at
end credits indicated that the two leads were contributing writers.
This may be
confirmation of my 'theory'. A scene in which Waldo begins to talk with
high-pitched squeal to Jaquelyn was particularly odd -- especially when
began to crack and sounded deep. According to Waldo, he had never
wanted her to
hear his voice and that is why he remained silent for so long. Jaquelyn
responds to the deepness she heard in his voice questioningly and Waldo
to shrug it all off. The entire scene ends up feeling like a bad joke
audience isn't even meant to be a part of. Later in the film it becomes
why Waldo was so obviously masking his voice - what was not so clear
was why anyone
would be expected to believe for even a single second the interactions
two characters in the earlier scene.
cinematography is nicely done with a surprisingly
effective use of colors for an indie low-budget production. The
clearly had some interesting visual ideas as well. Shots are framed in
unique and interesting ways that suggest a better film could have been
a real possibility.
I certainly would be interested in seeing another film by
Canonizado in the future. However, I would caution the film-maker to
the narrative structure of Waldo the Dog
and to re-evaluate his plans for any upcoming project. Lastly, if
intends to make a 'Waldo 2' next I would not be so interested.
video quality was better than
expected, and features a 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. I
claim to know what type of digital camera was used to film this movie
Digital SLR?), but I can say that it looked surprisingly rich in color
a 'clean' naturalistic appearance. The video was only occasionally the
of some poor compression issues (such as minor pixilation).
are no setup options. 2.0 English-language
audio is the only option. No subtitles are found on this release. The
often too loud, and was clearly not mixed as well as it perhaps could
The good news is that when dialog is used it is clearly defined.
isn't even a menu or an ability to select
the subject of the DVD packaging: I feel it is
worth noting that this CreateSpace release doesn't even include the
the movie on the cover art spine.
Waldo the Dog was certainly an interesting experiment. It is
unfortunate then that the film is marred by a weak first-half, and an
that doesn't manage to evoke any sympathy for the characters. The good
that the film suggests director Kris Canonizado has a commendable sense of how
create interesting visuals - which should serve him well in the future.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.