The Beast of Walton St.

11/21/2023 09:01

Film: The Beast of Walton St.

Year: 2022

Director: Dusty Austen

Writers: Dusty Austen and Athena Murzda

Starring: Athena Murzda, Mia Jones and LaVail Duncan



This was a movie that I was intrigued to check out. I knew this was part of the Ohio features section of Nightmares Film Festival. I had the pleasure of in passing meeting the co-writer/director Dusty Austen while in line at concession. She was quite funny and gracious to everyone that came to see her feature.

Synopsis: as the homeless population of an Ohio town is ravaged by brutal deaths in the dead of winter, two outcast women defend their turf and fight back against the deadly creature – a werewolf.

We start this in an alleyway where a guy hears something in the nearby dumpster. He goes to check out and is attacked. It is from there that we learn this isn’t the first. The homeless population is being killed, but it isn’t being investigated by the police. This is a challenging way to live and there is no one looking out for them. We then shift over to our lead, Constance Wilmenson (Athena Murzda).

She hacks into an ATM and gets money from it. She then goes to the local clinic where the charge nurse ignores her. She steals something from the place and a security guard chases her. Once she can get away, we see that she lives in an abandoned auto garage. Living there with her is her friend, Percy ‘Sketch’ Williams (Mia Jones). We learn that it was her medication that was taken. Sketch is slowly dying.

A bit more insight to our lead, it was revealed during the Q and A that Constance is on the autistic spectrum. That explains why she is calm and calculated with her decision about things. She is also emotionless. Constance takes Sketch with her to a restaurant. They don’t end up paying the bill, threatening to reveal that they found a raccoon in the bathroom. There seems to be a problem with these little creatures in town.

On their way back, things change when they come to the alleyway where the attacks are centered. There is something in the dumpster. It gives chase and our two women get away. Constance points out that it was a werewolf. Sketch can’t believe that as they aren’t real. There needs to be a logical explanation. Since the authorities won’t help, Constance decides to take care of this problem. It won’t be easy and extremely dangerous. She can’t sit by and wait to die though.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is first commending this team for making this movie. I sat behind everyone that could attend. This included Austen, Athena Murzda, Charles Murzda and other members behind the camera. They went out and made a solid werewolf movie. What I think works best is the care and time put into making this.

Now that I’ve said that, let me go to my favorite part of this movie. That would be the character of Constance and her banter with Sketch. I tend to have dry humor so that is partially why I liked this. Hearing them go back and forth made me smile. What is wild is that I learned the first day they met was on set. That’s crazy to have that much natural chemistry. The character of Constance makes sense to be as solidified as she is. I learned they’ve done a web series in the past and she is the lead, so the development has been done over years. That made sense.

Let me then go to the next part that I loved, which was the werewolf stuff. It is wild to see with what little budget they’re working with to bring the creature to life. It is reminiscent to me of An American Werewolf in London as this is a quadrupedal monster. Charles Murzda is inside of the suit to bring it to life. Seeing the up-close shots of the eyes and just glimpses of it as it is moving around was great. I should just commend the cinematography, lighting and editing as well. They are strategic in showing us what we need to, but not long enough to critique it too much. I’ll also just finish out here that the blood and gore in this were good as well. They went practical with all that could and it shows. There is a charm there.

There is another bit to go into and that deals with social commentary this explores. This one is pointing out the plight of homeless people. They are largely ignored by the government and by police. If something happens to them, it is better for the streets according to those in power. They have a story and why they are there. I like that this is shedding light on them and the news reports in this are also pointing out the major problem there. I appreciate this movie for pointing out these things as a former worker who has helped people who are down on their luck.

I believe all that is left then is the acting. I’ve already said that I like Athena Murzda’s performance. She is good along with Jones. They play so well off each other. I didn’t realize this had a cameo from Aimee-Lynn Chadwick who is the ex-girlfriend to Constance. I’ve seen her in a few things here and there. I’ll credit LaVail Duncan, James L. Edwards, Mark Lammert, Yvonne Newman, Tim Novotny and Aaron Pagniano in their roles. They all add what is needed and then special credit to Charles Murzda as the beast. He was great as our monster.

In conclusion, this is a solid low budget, independent werewolf film. I think that this does good things with its messaging and bringing this creature to life. I also thought that Athena Murzda led the way with her performance, also crediting Jones and Charles Murzda as the other bright spots. I do think this focused a bit too much on the characters where I wanted a bit more of the attacks. I understand why it doesn’t though. This is one that I enjoyed my time with and would recommend giving it a viewing if you are into regional cinema.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10