The found footage in the horror genre, founded as early as Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and made most famously by The Blair Witch Project (1999), tends to follow a simple formula, but the trick comes from the direction of the story and believability of the actors working in constant natural state with nothing forced as to distract the audience’s attention. Corey Grant serving as first director brings forth a solid production using the screenplay from Brian Kelsey and Bryan O’Cain, providing new avenue into the crypto-zoology field, with reference as the title suggest Bigfoot, by telling about a humiliated television host trying for redemption and a comeback for the biggest bang for his buck.
The story starts on the key character, Sean Reynolds (Drew Rausch) withdrawing $75,000 from a bank, almost his entire life savings and focusing on his own goals, and forms a team with ex-girlfriend, a practicing Wicca witch, who accepts her skills, respects nature and that man does not know of all nature’s secrets. Then add in a bit of comedic with a horror cliché with a reference to his sound tech Curtis, who refuses the opportunity because black men never survive in woods in this situation, a foreshadowing technique; therefore his replacement is a shy and not well adjusted to wilderness survival, a raw rookie, in the field in more ways than one, Kevin Lancaster (Noah Weisberg) whose quirks and attitude become a letdown to the crew and rallying cry for justice with the audience. Sean’s on the mission to recapture his crowned mantle, once a high acclaimed journalist with a strong belief in the paranormal, but when a hoax brings him down to nonexistence stature, only one option, a show that exposes these beliefs as hoaxes out to swindle individuals. Hence, enters first Dryback (Frank Ashmore) and later his cohort LaRoche (Rowdy Kelley), Dryback steals the scenes, and brags to have corpse of baby Bigfoot and while blending in the supernatural creatures of Wendigo folklore in the Northern California area. On his journey into the back woods, the group speaks of the legendary, controversial, and infamous Patterson Bigfoot footage (1967), to some debunked nearly 40 years, and shows to Sean the love interest of the genre with people and the proven myth-busting techniques to reveal hoaxes.
Grant steers clear of the blood drenching gore found in a creature film, which this film hides from the viewers, taking a page from the greats such as Jaws (1975) and Them (1954), presenting sounds of the brutal animalistic beasts. He also, uses the location which speaks volumes to the wilderness, dense, towering, using lessons from The Haunting (1963) and even John Carpenter’s The Ward, when place has charm or sinister shadows one allows that to capture hold everyone’s attention. That does not mean the film doesn’t have flaws, it does, but there are minor setbacks, the special effects of shaky camera work showing fear, but the storyline clearly provides enough overwhelming support for Sean’s crew even though he does not, providing a clear indication of Sean’s intentions and his self-worth over everyone else. Then many critics speak negative of the Dryback character, the mountain man who finds himself compared to Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) of Friday the 13th (1980), for his ominous warnings and then his paranoid mannerisms, and that no one in actual life experiences could ever exist. Obviously many people have not spent time with hunters, fishermen, and spoken with conspiracy believers, but their tall tales speaks volumes of entertainment and very true to them full a boring day very well. Ashmore does a great performance of a loyal supporter of the creature in the woods, and many defenses set up for protection from the lights in the sky and furious sounds of terror.
Needless to say the stories, tales, and films on the subject of Bigfoot or Sasquatch and their cousin Yeti have been part of the horror genre creature features for years, and likely to continue onward, but Grant’s creative entry with the combination of the found footage very popular now, brings a refreshing twist. The limited budget doesn’t take away from the hectic final act, which reveals so much that a second viewing for this finish might be considered by viewers.