Sasquatch Hunters (2005) – By Timothy Martinez

There are those movies that are made by people with skill and ideas but little money to realize them properly. There are the films that are brought to you by people with lots of money but no passion beyond providing mere spectacle. Then there are the people like those who produced Sasquatch Hunters who have lots and lots of enthusiasm, but pedestrian skill and even less money with which to work. Not that the film is a raging stinkfest. It’s just overly padded, too repetitive, features some truly lame CG FX and it is filled with morons. Other than that, it’s just dandy.

The movie begins in true cliched style by showing us a trio of rednecks who are hunting in the woods. At one point they’ve caught sight of what they think is a large bear and one guy squeezes off a couple shots. Some inane dialog follows before a very pissed off Sasquatch shows up to rip the arm off one redneck and pound another into paste while the third guy manages to escape. Now this entire opening sequence is puzzling because it has NOTHING to do with subsequent events in the film. Aside from a few brief minutes that shows us the fate of that third hunter, these guys will not be referenced again in any shape or fashion.

The film now turns to a large group of people preparing to set off into the woods. They are made up of some scientist types who want to look for bones in the deep forest and the rangers whose job it is to see them safely to their destination and back. There is some muddled background information on what drew the fossil hunters to this area, but it really is rather pointless. Suffice it to say that after days of hiking through the woods (half of which seems to have been included in this film) they come upon a strange burial site. They do some digging and realize that this is where some previously unheard of primate species has been burying it’s dead. That is when people start going missing. After that it is the usual monster-hunting-the-people-and-picking-them-off-one-by-one story that we’re all so familiar with by now.

The trouble with this film lies, not with it’s core ideas, but with it’s execution. It takes forever for anything to happen. For the first forty minutes it seems to be competing with The Blair Witch Project on how much footage of people walking through the trees and talking incessantly can be squeezed into one film. The bulk of the film’s second half is taken up with a prolonged cat and mouse chase through the woods, as the angry Sasquatch tracks down it’s victims and dispatches them. Cut this movie in half and you’d lose nothing from the narrative at all.

On top of the seemingly overlong running time, the film’s characters all behave like true idiots. Here they are in the Pacific Northwest looking for fossils from some unheard of primate, yet even after finding the burial site and taking a good long look at the decidedly non-human bones it contains, discovering further evidence of a large and powerful creature in the vicinity and even seeing the damn thing…no one realizes that it’s a freakin’ Sasquatch that’s toying with them. They all stare blankly at each other and wonder what it is that they’re dealing with. After the first of their party vanishes and they decide to high-tail it back to civilization, they make the all too common mistake of not sticking together, which naturally allows the Sasquatch to isolate and pick them off one at a time. One character even remarks on how intelligent the beast is and how it is hunting them down through the use of tactical thinking. Well, when dealing with morons of this magnitude, Helen Keller could effectively track and kill these dorks. After they find an old fur trapper cabin in the woods in which to seek shelter, one idiot keeps making the mistake of turning his back on the wide open window. Soon enough…POW, he’s yanked to his doom. And don’t even get me started on how no one was smart enough to bring along a cell or satellite phone. Its when showcasing utter imbeciles like these that the film ends up having the audience cheer on the monster!

Speaking of the monster, the beast is brought to life by the worst CGI that I’ve seen in a long time. The moment when that third redneck hunter is caught and slammed against a tree by his feet looks like it was lifted from a video game. Numerous scenes near the end when there are several Sasquatch creatures attacking the fleeing survivors also look horrible. I think the few fleeting moments when the monster was brought to life by a guy in a furry suit were far more convincing than the shoddy animation. Add on to all that a musical score that annoyingly swells after every damn turn in the path and you’re left with a film that needs a lot less of everything: less characters, less music, less CG FX and less running time.

Final Grade: 2 out of 5