Found footage films, seem to have earned a lasting impression on the horror genre, and the staying power always increasing mainly due to the fact of the cheapness for successful production, for wallets of budding filmmakers, however a strange element when a noted filmmaker, such as Bobcat Goldthwait enters into the subgenre with his version of the Bigfoot story. The conceptual design of his movie provides a solid outing complete suspense and gradual build-up of intrigue providing a refreshing creation, with no false scares and empty promises.
Bobcat’s screenplay also works with the visuals, and allows the ebb and flow of the story to take place, adding in the good chemistry of the principal roles Jim and Kelly, leads the viewer in deeper to the story, with and never dismissing it as another bad flick in the sub-genre vortex of dead-ends. Jim (Bryce Johnson) thoroughly believes in the cryptozoology of the creature known as Bigfoot and shock when others do not, such as his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) who accompanies him only to spend quality time. The paring of these two actors find themselves bantering naturally, and very likeable, is inane ways and her sound mind, make for an entertaining movie; remind many of a Mulder and Scully partnership. Jim references the infamous real life Patterson-Gimlin footage from 1967 of the supposedly Bigfoot strolling by and just at the right moment looking in their direction, as the primarily reason for the belief in their existence. Here in the first act of the movie the interviews (and later discover real interviews with real people not actors) on the belief of the creature, or actually the absurd laughter of the notion. They chart tourist attractions, including the Bigfoot museum, theme-restaurant, statues, and murals all real places and items, so far a true documentary occurring, with a special treat for the believers. By the second act, they enter the woods to visit a location of the first sighting, with accompany of horror elements, rummaging leaves, shadows, noises and squawking sounds, yet still the scenery steals the moments, with all the naturalistic qualities laid before their hiking. This also shows just how insignificantly small of an individual is to nature’s domain that we become the prey quickly rather than the apex of the predator. The best scene comes from inside the tent, the agonizing minutes lasting with depth shadows and sounds echoing across the darkness, the mysterious “vocalizations” per Jim’s definitions, adding to their facial expressions that not informed of what is prowls outside. A bit of psychological torment used on the cast of The Blair Witch Project (1999) but this goes deeper, the sounds without the beast allow the audience create their horrors, for example in The Haunting (1963) a couple is trapped in a room and something in the hallway pounds on walls and creating tremendous fears, all excite the audience wonderfully. Their escape from the forest becomes an endless nightmare with infighting and arguments with insults hurled in both directions without any respect contributing to their demise.
The concept films concerning the Bigfoot have increased in recent years with more frequent entering through the found footage avenue, such as The Sasquatch Hunters (1997), The Lost Bigfoot Tapes (2012), though the storyline isn’t new these stories existed in the 1970s and 1950s as narratives, and yet always capturing the attention of fans. The genre of found footage movies struggle normal with concept of why are they filming this, and this time the movie presents with reason to discover the truth, a documentary, with a plan, and location to try to reach, presenting a factual accounting, hence it transcends to the level of a mock-documentary.
The entire movie feels to present with belief, and Bobcat shows his fascination with the subject spilled into the film, and he had attention conventions on the subject, and in writing the rule always write what you know, and he does just that with fright at the forefront. Willow Creek, does have drawbacks, from the shorten running of 80-minutes, and suffers from lack of rawness, nothing noting the discovery of it, including that actors in the movie have appeared in other productions. In addition, the lighting and sound seem far too superior, and while auto-focus and correctness exist, how much deterioration could a consumer take before destruction.
Even with the drawbacks and issues of technical aspects the movie generates an effective storytelling and that does run into the tiresome dullness often associated in the films, with the acting and director superior given to the audience in a faithful manner. While the market floods each year with more found footage creations, this one, stands out as a winner.