The Traveler (2010) – By Kirsten Walsh

For a quiet release, The Traveler, entered the festival circuit in 2010, and then came out on DVD that same year. A suspenseful horror film, it was just another notch for Val Kilmer, who has been featured in a handful of suspense and horror films in the past ten years. Entirely set in one location- a police station- The Traveler sends a creepy message that there are some confessions that should remain a secret.

With a cast that includes some TV fan favorites, the script really pulls everything it can out of them. Dylan Neal plays the main detective in the film, tortured by the memory of his missing daughter, which effectively caused a rift in his family. The other police in the station on the stormy Christmas Eve include an interoffice couple, two seemingly best friends, and an office desk jockey who looks like Farva from Supertroopers and Wayne Knight had a love child. As the story progresses, Val Kilmer enters the calm station and confesses to six murders, but won’t give the information as to who or how. The cops lock him up and attempt to interrogate them as he slowly reveals bits and pieces of his victims, which somehow mirror eerily the police in the station.

It is apparent that this is a higher budget independent film, with hopes of being something higher than what it is. At points, the dialogue tends to drag, and the pacing is reminiscent of drama from the 70s. Supernatural elements don’t really add anything except for mystery and ultimately confusion. As we see the characters picked off by an unknown force- who we can only assume is the locked up behind bars Kilmer, the gore shows the real budget of the film. Vague close ups and distorted wides hide obviously fake and grossly inadequate practical special effects. While I applaud those in most cases, it doesn’t match the overall look of the film in this one.

However, Kilmer is nothing less than beautiful in this film. Of course, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was an awesome exploitation of how far Kilmer could go for a role in recent years, but his serene demeanor, somewhat overacting at moments really carried the film. To me, it brought back memories of Madmartigan and Iceman, and even his rendition of Bruce Wayne. Its not that he isn’t doing many films these days (he currently has four in various stages of production, as well as four films set to release in 2013), but he is more of an icon and is more likely to be seen in cameos (such as in a 2013 episode of Warwick Davis’ TV show, Life’s Too Short), as most of his films have been somewhat independently released and a bit harder to find.

I was truly excited to watch this film and see Kilmer in a twisted creepy role that he excelled in. I would definitely recommend this awesome creepfest to anyone who is down for an awesome story that executed fairly decently.