Walk Among the Dead with Nick Groff in Death Walker
Nick Groff of Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Lockdown has returned to our screens with his latest foray into the fantastical. As the Death Walker, Nick walks among the dead to learn more about how and why spirits present themselves, pushing forward our scientific understanding of the supernatural.
A renowned investigator in the paranormal TV show sphere, Nick’s name is one already well known to audiences and is enough to pull in long-time fans to his newest project. With three seasons released since 2021, Death Walker appears to be doing enough in terms of ratings for renewal.
However, with Death Walker’s shaky release on various streaming services and a surprisingly lukewarm audience reception, have paranormal lovers grown fatigued with the same faces appearing on screen time and time again?
Let’s dive into Death Walker and find out whether old favorites truly have anything new to say.
Death Walker Air Date
Death Walker had a staggered release on a variety of different platforms. Technically, it premiered on Nick’s subscription service, VIDI SPACE, on Halloween 2020 to audiences worldwide. However, for those that didn’t subscribe, it first aired on April 9th, 2021, as a Discovery+UK exclusive.
This disappointed a few American fans who didn’t subscribe to VIDI and couldn’t access Discovery+UK. They had to wait until January 2023 to watch the series on the FilmRise app, the FilmRise True Crime YouTube channel, and The Roku Channel. The show has also aired on television in the UK, on the UKTV offshoot channel Really.
The first episode, Space-Time, lays out the concept for the series as Nick visits infamous locations, Bushy Mountain Penitentiary and Madison Seminary, seeking to prove a theory that our perception of time affects our understanding of the paranormal. Nick Groff fans and paranormal lovers alike from the UK tuned in, and since then, the first episode has become one of the highest-rated in the series.
Creation and Production
Having made such a name for himself when it comes to paranormal TV hits, a Nick Groff show demands high production quality. This is one explanation for why almost 200 individuals have lent their talents to Death Walker both in front of and behind the camera over its existing 3 seasons.
Nick himself gets credit as the series director, executive producer, editor, cinematographer, and writer of narration. Justin Narragon, a Paranormal Lockdown producer, serves as the executive producer, line producer, story producer, production manager, narration writer, and head of cinematography. Other producers include:
- Rosa Nill – Executive Producer
- Elizabeth Saint – Executive Producer/Post-Production Producer
- Nick Arnot – Segment/Re-enactment Producer
- Diana May – Producer
- Jody May – Producer
- Scott Weinstein – Producer
- Matthew Markayze – Assistant Producer
Since Death Walker has re-enactment scenes peppered throughout the episodes, also credited are makeup artist, Maxine Simmer, series production designers Ken Consentino and Frank Coppola, and Jessica Gruszewski and Holly Shwarnwebber in the series costume and wardrobe department.
Death Walker Cast Members
After joining investigative teams in Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Lockdown, Nick tackles Death Walker’s haunted locations completely alone. Though he’s been on the paranormal scene since 2004, if Death Walker is your first experience with Nick, here’s a little background:
A lover of horror movies from a young age, Nick is no stranger to the supernatural. After a near-death experience falling from a tree in his childhood, he saw a ghostly figure when home alone. Though Nick admits this could have been his imagination, he chooses to believe that his experience touching the other side made him more open to spirits and figures from the beyond.
In 2007, his documentary film Ghost Adventures premiered on the SyFy channel and broke records with 1.4 million viewers. The team then founded the Ghost Adventures Crew, and though Nick left in 2014, his eponymous TV show based on his documentary is still airing. He then went on to produce Ghost Stalkers and star in Paranormal Lockdown, both of which broke ratings records of the channels they aired on.
As the re-enactment producer, Nick Arnot is the other most prominent cast member, although you might miss him. With acting credits for 8 episodes for roles ranging from ‘shadow figure’ to ‘paranormal investigator #4’, he shines from the background. He also designed the series’ title sequence.
Primary Focus of the Show
In its initial season, Death Walker attempted to lend credence to various paranormal theories such as ley lines connecting ancient monuments and carrying supernatural energy, property renovations angering spirits, and past-life experiences altering our connection to hauntings, all by comparing two infamous locations. By contrasting the evidence gathered at both sites, Nick provides a conclusion that often leads to more questions than answers.
However, this methodology seems to have been scrapped with the start of the second season, wherein Nick returns to a tried and tested format investigating just one location per episode. These episodes center around the hauntings but do sometimes pose and seek to answer questions such as ‘can spirits physically harm living beings?’
Nick speaks to the owners to provide historical context, gets assistance from paranormal investigators with previous location experience to discern the most active areas, and then conducts his investigations.
Throughout the seasons, Nick uses a variety of devices to gather evidence but often relies on his physical reactions to locations, his natural senses, and his long list of experiences communicating with paranormal entities. He also makes use of:
- Cameras set up around the properties
- DR60 Recorder with voice activation
- Geo Box and Geo Port spirit boxes
- Pana Box
In later seasons, Nick reviews his evidence with the owners and specialists before providing his conclusion and opening audience discussion on the type of haunting he’s experienced.
Death Walker’s Impact on the Paranormal Community
Before Death Walker aired on VIDI SPACE, there was significant hype from the paranormal community. Having had shows syndicated worldwide, Nick’s name recognition alone brought attention to his new project. However, some of this anticipation for Death Walker seemed to wane once it was announced the show wouldn’t be airing on a US channel or more mainstream streaming service for some time.
Having said this, the show has been praised for ‘expanding the definition of paranormal phenomena’ to include in-human hauntings and even alien presences. Though this is nothing new, it is one of the most recent examples of paranormal TV shows that don’t immediately assume every haunting results from a ghost or spirit of someone who passed away at the location.
Death Walker’s initial concept also gained attention in the paranormal community, as “any fan of the supernatural is compelled to watch this series, just for the knowledge shared if nothing else.” Nick’s dedication to pushing forward paranormal theories and combining scientific explanations for the supernatural is a unique offering in the genre, and true believers enjoyed his attempt to further the community’s investigative methods and outlooks.
One 10-star review on IMDb echoed this praise, stating, “Nick Groff takes the viewers of Death Walker on a very in-depth exploration of different theories in WHY the paranormal might exist at high levels…and why the owners of these locations and other people encounter things the way that they do.” Once the series did become available to US viewers, anticipation picked back up, and Death Walker gained further recognition.
Death Walker’s Seasons and Episodes
At the time of writing, three seasons of Death Walker are available on various streaming platforms. The first season comprises 5 episodes, likely due to its being filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second season has 15 episodes, and the third season has 20, each with a runtime of around 42 minutes.
The Most Popular and Well-Rated Episodes
The 9 highest-rated episodes of Death Walker, all with 7 stars or above, according to IMDb user reviews, are:
- Season 2, Episode 7 – Olde Park Hotel
- Season 1, Episode 3 – The Others
- Season 2, Episode 1 – The Sally House
- Season 2, Episode 3 – Haunted Hill House
- Season 1, Episode 4 – Masonic Mysteries
- Season 2, Episode 4 – Northeastern Hospital
- Season 1, Episode 2 – Stone Tape Theory
- Season 1, Episode 1 – Space-Time
- Season 1, Episode 5 – Thought Form Entity
Famous Guest Appearances
In each episode, the owner of the haunted property appears and assists Nick with part of the investigation. He also seeks help from a variety of paranormal investigators, the most accomplished of which include:
A paranormal investigator for 16 years, Josh has written 5 books on various hauntings. He also assisted Nick with a Paranormal Lockdown investigation in 2017 and has since appeared on Destination Fear. When it comes to Death Walker, he takes on the Sallie House with Nick.
No stranger to ghost stories, Johnny Houser worked as a caretaker at the Villisca Axe Murder House. He has since written for Vice and starred in Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, The Dead Files, Ghost Stalkers, Paranormal Lockdown, and Death Walker.
Also known as Bloody Mary and the Voodoo Queen, Mary Millian owns and operates Bloody Mary Tours and curates the Haunted Museum in New Orleans. A self-described advocate for Spirits Rights, she has been active in the community for over 25 years and plays a large part in the Death Walker episode New Orleans Spirits with Bloody Mary.
Controversies and Criticisms
Though Nick is widely beloved in the paranormal genre, with both Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Lockdown being highly respected shows, Death Walker has received its fair share of criticism. However, far from accusations of fakery, viewers have critiqued the show as being ‘horribly boring’.
“I couldn’t even finish the first episode,” one reviewer admitted. “The tone of the commentary is horrendous and by the time the spirit hunting started, it was not believable at all. So cringe.” Other commenters have mentioned that it feels Nick has ‘run out of steam’ and the show has the tone and pacing of a YouTube equivalent.
It’s clear fans expected more from Death Walker. The poor reception that has left the show with a 5.1-star rating overall seems to prove the saying ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’.
Despite this, in later seasons, Nick spends significant time with other investigators to up the entertainment value, and technical aspects such as EVP recordings are played multiple times to improve audience engagement. They also tone down the loud music and cheesy sound effects as the seasons progress.
Overall, media reception to Death Walker has been all but non-existent, with most outlets more interested in Nick than the show, and viewer reception average at best.
There are no plans as yet to renew Death Walker for a fourth season. However, as the final episode of season 3 aired on 26th May 2023, fans shouldn’t be dismayed as a renewal may yet come. Even if this is Death Walker’s death knell, it’s almost certain that Nick Groff won’t stray too far from our screens for long.
With that being said, with Nick having been a part of the paranormal scene since 2004, Death Walker’s less-than-positive reviews may signal it’s time for a revamp in terms of the genre’s conventions. Focusing on investigations and eery spirits was enough to keep viewers hooked. However, it now seems that if the host(s) isn’t entertaining enough then neither will the spooks be.
With giants of the genre, such as Nick moving away from TV and to streaming platforms, it’s evident that paranormal TV shows are in a battle to stay relevant. Simply sticking to traditional methods and formats isn’t enough to keep shows going anymore, even if they do have a catchy hook and interesting premise.
Death Walker does very little to push the paranormal genre forward, even if the show does dedicate its first season to improving the science of the supernatural. All the tried and tested stylistic elements are present, with haunting music and sound effects a big part of how tension is created. Death Walker has been done before, but for many viewers, this is as comforting as it is entertaining. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If you’re a fan of Nick Groff, and view his so-called ‘boring’ voice-over as part of his chilled-out persona, then you’ll likely get more out of Death Walker than many other viewers have. On the other hand, if you favor paranormal TV shows that don’t put the hosts’ personalities second to the spooks, Death Walker might not be for you.
Since Death Walker is free for US viewers on the Roku Channel and the FilmRise app, you won’t lose out on anything but time if you do decide to give it a go. But if you’re not a die-hard Nick Groff lover, there is plenty by way of better offerings out there. Try the first season and see what you think. After that, spending time on a Paranormal Lockdown or Ghost Adventures rewatch may be better.