Director – Eduardo Sanchez
Writer – Jamie Nash
Starring – Chris Osborne, Dora Madison Burge, Samuel Davis, Roger Edwards
After breaking out in a huge way by co-directing 1999 smash hit The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez has largely failed to catch lightning in a bottle twice. So can a return to the genre that he helped pioneer (ignoring the Italian exploitation flicks that were notorious as opposed to successful), with a creature feature twist thrown in for works, be a recipe for success? The answer is….sort of?
Two brothers, Brian (Osborne) and Matt (Davis) travel to a cabin for a weekend break with a few of their friends. Matt’s girlfriend, Dora (Burge), Todd (Edwards), and Elizabeth (Denise Williamson) who it is revealed has a thing with Todd. Unfortunately, on the way there, they hit a mysterious creature with their car. Quickly, they find themselves under siege from the legendary Bigfoot.
Traditionally, the found-footage genre is a difficult one to review, because of it’s unconventional nature. Oddly here, a score is added, and the film is presented as being edited by a surviving character and released. Perhaps a design decision made to differentiate the film from the thousands of other found-footage films that pollute the horror genre, it actually causes the film and narrative a few issues.
The major issue is that it is suggested the footage was cut together and compiled into a feature documentary by a surviving character. This destroys a lot of the suspense, as we then know beyond doubt that at least one person survives. The use of score and editing techniques do differentiate the film from the countless other found footage films out there, but reduces the gimmick’s impact leaving you to wonder why he needed it that way at all. If you want to differentiate yourself from the other found footage films, why not just try not to make a found footage film?
Not helped by an odd script. Characterisation is minimal and no time is wasting explaining who everyone is. This is good for tension, as we are thrown straight into the horror aspects, but bad for caring, because we are given no reason to care about anybody.
Also, some of the characters change personalities oddly. Todd is pretty much calm and normal, until one inexplicable moment where he goes mad and gives everybody away. This, and the constant wondering of why the monster you hit with a car might be mad at you, makes almost all the cast unlikeable.
If it sounds all bad, it isn’t. The trade off for poor characterisation is genuine tension from the out. This is particularly effective early on, when we are only giving fleeting glimpses of the beast. Then as the film progresses and we’re shown more he naturally loses his impact, but high-fives for prosthetic work as opposed to CGI. Big thumbs on that one, and the beast looks great.
This is an odd film; it is heavy on the tension and atmosphere, but fails to make its mind up on the found footage gimmick, features characters with no depth whatsoever, and unfortunately loses its way after a solid start. This could have been a lot better with minimal effort, which makes it all the more inexcusable.
Final Rating – 3.2/5