Film Review: Waldo the Dog
Waldo The Dog (2010)
Directed By: Kris Canonizado
Cast: Rook Kelly, Jaquelyn Xavier.
Review By: Annie Riordan
Rape: the most unforgivable crime one person can commit against another. It’s the murder of the human soul, a permanent stain on the psyche, once which forever alters the victim’s ability to trust.
However, Jaquelyn seems to be faring rather well following a vicious rape four years earlier, committed by a cyberstalker against whom she had an ineffective restraining order. Face down in a ditch, sobbing her way through the humiliating ordeal, Jackie somehow manages to carry on with her life.
The same cannot be said for her stalker/rapist. Disgusted and horrified by what he’s done, the already mentally disturbed young man retreats into homelessness and self-degradation, donning a full head dog mask and refusing to speak. He moves into a dank shed and spends his days panhandling and/or recycling plastic bottles for a pittance, which he then squanders on fast food and wrestling lessons at the local gym. His instructors hate him. His co-wrestlers despise him. He’s too weird, too violent, and he never takes off that creepy fucking mask. His search for solace at a local playground proves fruitless as the neighborhood kids rally round and pelt him with whatever comes to hand, leaving him a puddle of pathetically whining weirdo.
Oh, and he’s still stalking Jackie. He’s just more careful about it now; following her home from work at a respectable distance, peering in through her windows at night and beating off as she changes into pajamas. One must question if a stalker/rape victim would really leave her shades open at night following such a trauma, but whatever – it’s a movie, not an episode of Cold Case Files.
Anyway, Stalkerboy’s Dogged (sorry) stalking finally pays off one night when Jaquelyn is set upon by another pervert with ill intentions. He saves her, beats the last speck of shit out of her attacker and returns the fair damsel to her home. Upon waking, she’s understandably upset to find him there and swiftly orders him out. But her conscience gets the best of her and she ends up following him back to his shed. An unlikely friendship blooms and she dubs the mute, nameless, masked boy “Waldo.”
“Waldo” revels in his new friendship, devoting himself to Jaquelyn full-time and secretly hoping against hope that someday he will be able to remove his mask and be forgiven. For Waldo is truly sorry for what he’s done, and his last purpose in life is to right the wrongs he’s committed. But can Jaquelyn forgive him? Or will she reject him utterly when she finds out who he is?
The realist in me wants to reject the very idea that a girl like Jaquelyn would so easily allow an obviously mentally deranged man into her home and life with no qualms whatsoever, especially one whose face is hidden beneath a pseudo-leather dog mask. But what the hell do I know? I’ve never been raped, and though I’ve had my share of stalkers, it’s never gone that far. Maybe Jaquelyn is Compassion Incarnate. Or maybe this is the fetish mask version of Luke & Laura. Whatever. Long story short, despite my hesitations, I was mostly able to suspend my disbelief for nearly the entire two hours of runtime, ultimately coming to view Waldo The Dog as a Grimm tale, thoroughly modernized, pure in its intentions and every bit as warped as the tales of old were without benefit of a thorough Disneyfied sanitizing.
I was a little irked by the fact that I ended up liking Waldo a lot more than Jackie, but ultimately must give props to the film itself for forcing me to feel that way when every fiber of my being was against it. And goddammit, I cried at the end. Fuck you, film. How dare you make me act like a soggy little emo girl?
This will offend some, possibly bore others and freak the shit out of more than a few, I’m sure. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this film. It’s weird, warped, sick and…oddly, kind of cute. In a gross sorta way. A mix like that makes for cult film status; it’s not for everyone, and thank god for that.