Best described as Blair Witch meets Bigfoot, this found footage horror film comes from the twisted mind of Bobcat Goldthwait (God Bless America, Windy City Heat.) Jim and Kelly are a young couple headed to Willow Creek – the sight of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin footage – so that Jim can fulfill his dream of making a documentary on Bigfoot.
The first act does a good job setting up the relationship between these two characters as they travel to the Bigfoot obsessed town of Willow Creek and interview the locals there about their experiences. It may be a little slow for some, but I enjoyed it. A lot of the movie rests on the shoulders of these two actors and the slow burn approach allows you to connect to them before they finally head out into the hundreds of acres of untamed wilderness to go squatchin’.
This is Jim’s dream, but Kelly thankfully represents the skeptical side of the Bigfoot debate. She remains likeable and supportive while asking all the right questions about the existence of hundred pound ape men living in the forests. The film is also very genuine in how it handles believers – they are never portrayed in a mean or crazy light. When things do start to get real and knocking, vocalizations, and footprints appear – seeing her become more unnerved and unable to explain away the experiences adds a great layer of tension.
The film will definitely be too slow for some, but clocking in at only 80 minutes long it never wore out its welcome. My stomach and I liked that the couple had the common sense to bring a tripod and that shaky cam was used sparingly and effectively to ramp up the tension. The standout being a 20 minute scene that takes place entirely inside of the tent which will make you think twice next time you decide to go tent camping in the woods.
The movie is unlike anything Bobcat has ever done before, and it works a lot better than Kevin Smith’s foray into horror with Red State. Unfortunately, the material itself isn’t that original. Creepy local offering cryptic warnings? Check. “We’ve seen that tree before!” when lost in the woods. Check. I was also left a little crestfallen by the finale.
The movie is a love letter to Bigfoot hunters everywhere and is definitely worth a look if you are a believer yourself, or a fan of found footage films. Don’t expect gore and sex when the film releases Sept. 9th, but if you are looking for a quick and tense watch at the Redbox then check out Willow Creek.
For more on the existence of Bigfoot, click here.