Do you remember those Where’s Wally (or Waldo for you Americans out there) books? Did you ever spend hours frustratingly looking for the striped shirt wearing bastard and think; you know what, this would make a good movie. Well if you did you probably need some help. But what the heck, why not try and pitch this movie!
We start in the room of a small boy, laying atop his bed desperately searching for Wally. It is way past his bed time and his dad walks in, clearly annoyed to still see the young boy up. He asks his son why he still searching for Wally when he should be asleep, to which the boy replies that he needs to find Wally before Wally finds him.
The dad is puzzled by this response and sits on the edge of the boys bed and asks the boy to explain. It seems that the scuttle but on the school playground is that if you start searching for Wally and do not find him before you go to sleep, Wally will find you and kill you! The dad laughs at this and tells his son that is nonsense and that the other kids were just trying to wind him up. He closes the book and settles his son into his bed. The boy is clearly still troubled but a mixture of tiredness and respect for his father makes him acquiesce. The father leaves the room and closes the door behind him.
As the son drifts off the voices of his friends ring in his mind, and just before he is about to drift off to sleep a noise rouses him. Instinctively he grabs for the Wally book, but it is no longer there. As he looks up a silhouetted figure of a tall man in a bobble hat is revealed lurking over the bed.
The figure states that as the boy did not find him, he had to find the boy. The silhouette lunges to grab the boy.
We cut to the parents bedroom and the dad hears some strange noises from his sons room. Still uncomfortable with how he left his son, and wondering if he should have just helped him find Wally to ease his child’s mind, he decides to get up and investigate. As he opens the door he sees his son being dragged into the pages of the book. Wally, clearly not happy to be interrupted, lunges at the dad and a scuffle ensues. Wally leaves the dad bloody and bruised and disappears into the book behind the boy. As the dad slowly gets up he looks at the book, finding Wally standing next to what is clearly his son.
With the disappearance of the son and the dads conviction that the boy was sucked into a book, we jump forward a number of years as the dad is released from a mental hospital. His wife is long gone and his life in tatters. He still has nightmares about his son being sucked into the book, but after years of drugs and people telling him it is nonsense he no longer believes it to be true.
However it would seem that his story reaches the ears of people who are listening out for just such bizarre tales. As the father tries to build a life back up, he is harassed by a wide eyed woman who swears to him that her daughter was taken in exactly the same way and that no one believed her either. At first he tries to ignore her but he is worn down by her persistence, and her revelation that his son could still be saved.
She reveals that his son will still be alive within the pages of the book he was sucked into, and that if he can find that book she can help him save his son. So the dad approaches his ex wife asking for the book. She screams at him to stop spouting such nonsense and that he is violating his restraining order. He promises he will leave as soon as he has the book, and that he just needs to see it to complete his recovery. Eventually she tells him the book is somewhere in the attic.
We join the dad in the attic as he uses his excellent searching skills to find the book in a pile of things that look almost exactly like it. He turns to the page he remembers his son being sucked into but he no longer sees him there. He convinces himself that he has made up the whole thing. Even so he takes the book with him.
On the other side of the page we cut to his son, who saw his dad looking down at him with unrecognising eyes. The boy realises it must have been a number of years since he was dragged into the book and that he must have grown in that time.
Life in the book is hard, with Wally being a harsh task master. We quickly learn that the majority of the people in the book were sucked in at one point or another and are all prisoners of Wally.
Back on the outside the father produces the book to the wide eyed woman. As he explains that it is all nonsense she opens the book fervently until her eyes land on a picture of a young woman almost the spit of her. She rubs at the page and exclaims this is the book. She points to the woman and claims that to be her daughter. Seeing that he is still sceptical she forces him to turn to the page where his son was dragged into and tells him not to look for the boy who was, but who he would be now. The dad sees his son. A believer again he asks what they need to do now.
She tells him they need to enter the book and challenge Wally in his own world. Only with the defeat of Wally would the others be free. So they both start looking for Wally, making sure they don’t, and fall asleep. They wake up as normal and surmise that it only works on kids. The woman talks of kidnapping a child but the dad will have none of that. The woman is not happy but agrees and for them both. The man drinks it and falls asleep.
When he wakes he is tied to a chair and he can hear the sobs of a small girl. The woman is screaming at her, telling her to look for Wally and repeating that if she does not find him, he will find her. The girl screams when the woman snaps the book shut, repeating again and again that she did not find him. The man struggles to free himself but cannot. The screams of the girl grow softer and then cease.
The woman walks out to the dad and says Wally will be here soon. She unites the man and he rushes to the other room, happy to see the girl alive and asleep, but furious she is even there. As he turns to shout at the woman the book starts to glow and Wally appears. He notices the dad and smiles. With menace Wally approaches the dad, clearly intending to knock him out so he can take the girl. The woman bursts in and chants a challenge, forcing Wally to halt. With a scream he drags all three into the book.
Now in the book father and son are reunited. Wally goes over the rules of the challenge. They have twenty four hours to find Wally. If they do not succeed they will be stuck in the book forever. Wally disappears.
The father and son, along with gene woman and the kidnapped girl, start a treacherous trek through the pages of the book looking for Wally. Many attempts are made at their lives and to delay their search. We also enjoy some bonding moments between father and son, and pick up the daughter of the woman.
Eventually, and just in time, they find Wally. As they watch the sand of time trickle out, the father realises that it is not actually Wally, but someone that looks very much like him until you look really closely. With time almost up he runs frantically down a page full of almost of Wally’s, finally managing to corner the real one.
With Wally found the book shines and everybody who was lost within the pages is let free. The woman and her daughter head home, taking the girl with them. She explains that she is her niece.
The dad returns his son to his mother. She is amazed to see him but does not believe it when they both explain what happened. She believes the dad must have locked the boy away and brainwashed him somehow. It ends with the dad being arrested and the boy being hospitalised to get the treatment he needs.
As the dad is being driven away in the police car he is surprised when it turns off the main road. The car stops and the police man turns round. It is Wally. Found you is all he says and that is the end.
How is that for a Where’s Wally film? My first idea was a little darker, making Wally more like Freddy from Elm Street. Although I liked the downright horror angle I thought a mix of thriller and adventure worked a little better. What do you think?