The Fiancé (2016) – By Baron Craze


A few things to understand about this movie from director Mark Allen Michaels, it’s his second feature, though his first in the horror genre, but his first attempt as a screenwriter. The Fiancé mixes a few genres together, first horror (creature feature), next comedy, smattering of romance, and a touch of drama, now sadly it does not all mix fittingly well, but makes for an interesting venture for one to enjoy, as the adversary includes Sasquatch. Mark stated that he initially got the concept from hearing recorded sounds of Bigfoot on a radio show, one night when unable to sleep and it made his hair stand up, and there the storyline fell into place. It took merely six weeks to finalize the screenplay and prep for shooting in the Topanga Canyon, California among a few other places, though worth noting it this DYI project and made on a nothing scrap budget, which mostly fills into the creature, practical, and other special effects. Indican Pictures secured the rights for distribution and worldwide releases on all media platforms this past November, with the tagline Love Hurts.

This reviewer has seen quite a few Bigfoot and its cousins (Sasquatch and Yeti) of the beastly creature, though none, which transforms their victims into their species, it seems someone combine that with lycanthropy (werewolves). Most recently, films such as Willow Creek (2013) and Exists (2014) does show the violent side of the creatures, but no transformation, and hence this movie possibly breaks new ground in the genre, which contains over 130 films in this vein of creatures.

The movie starts with a tiny documentary crew running for their lives and terrorizing animal sounds and the quick cut to a small group of hikers as they’re all injected in to the movie to transform the mythical beast in to a valid threat. However, nowhere close to the central characters just yet as an expert on the study of cryptozoology of Bigfoot appears in a makeup chair giving his impersonation of sounds that the Yeti, Sasquatch, and of course Bigfoot make, and sadly it dissolves from any seriousness of a horror flick into mindless filler moment, frankly an ugh feeling. This expert does it for a television show called Monster Mania, which feels just a tad disjointed from the rest of the film. The core of The Fiancé deals with the relationship between Sara (Carrie Keagan) and her boyfriend Michael (Dallas Valdez) amidst a series of Bigfoot sightings that soon turn into attacks, occurring near a cabin where Michael plans for quality time with his girl, Sara. Upon arriving at the cabin, Sara gets attacked by Sasquatch, why, would a secluded animal suddenly provoke itself, let alone attack and somehow infect and change her into a beast. No need to understand the reason why, rather sit back and work through the flashback sequences, far too many, which show their budding relationship and Michael’s involvement in her daddy’s Russian business crime affairs, each time they break tension building moments. Michael takes a beating in this movie, continually attacked, and with pause between time allowing for cutaways and flashbacks before the character learns to defend and protect himself. Valdez portrayal of the Michael feels stiff, a tad to wooden, the lacking of emotions his fiancé turned murderous monster and he quite nonchalant over it all. The gore effects help significantly with the film, and benefit from biting off fingers and Sara gnawing through his shoe resulting in Michael cutting off his own big toe, though that becomes just a few things he loses, more crushing still befall him.

Let’s first start with creature effect artists Michelle Sfarzo, Toryn Reed, and Joseph Pitruzzello who made the Sara character truly look increasing ugly and the of course the actual Sasquatch (Douglas Tait) all did a very fine job. From here, though the course fluctuates it strange direction likely due to the lack of overall budget, and trying to constrain oneself from going too and hence repeating the chase moments between Michael and Sara, it fails into a bit boredom, a small location went against the filmmakers. The framing and lighting choices actually work very well together, and raise that portion of the film. As for the music score, like many independent films the music shifts dramatic herein using first classical and then jazzy riffs.

The film works quickly the short runtime of 79-minutes, though a redeeming quality, as the back-story fails to connect a lot of the story, but look at all the elements include for your enjoyment: a love story, Russian mafia, murders, killer Sasquatch with ability to infect others and spread rabies version of themselves and then cheesy dialogue of comedy. Next, wrap it all in some very nice practical gore effects and it all becomes just afraid of brutality with some confusion, but one could a lot worse, likely a one-time view.