Friday, September 12, 2014

"Willow Creek" (2013) d/ Bobcat Goldthwait

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Remember the first time you saw a "found footage" style horror movie? Most folks can recall their fiftieth at this point in the copycat sweepstakes we used to call a horror genre. Found footage cannibals. Found footage zombies. Found footage daikaiju. Found footage demonic possession. Found footage Leatherface. Uncle, already.  Tonight's review is a Bigfoot twist on the style, though not even the first one, as I believe 2012's Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes owns that dubious distinction, if I'm not too A.M-delirious to say for sure. One thing Willow Creek can boast of, is being the only Bigfoot-based found footage film directed by Shakes the Clown. From the first time I read about this one, I was already well curious to see it, being a long time proponent of hairy hominid-based horror flicks, but the driving force behind my desire was the fact that I'd never laughed at anything I'd ever seen Bobcat Goldthwait in, as far as I can remember. The high pitched screech thing he always seemed to be doing only ever got on my nerves. So, if comedy isn't the guy's strong suit, maybe he's a natural for horror? Open-minded I try to remain at all times.

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Look, it's a couple of goofy tourists documenting their dinner for posterity, my favorite...
We meet Jim (Bryce Johnson) and his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) as they embark on a road trip to Bluff Creek in California, the secluded location off of the Klamath River where would be adventurers Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin bumped into and briefly filmed an adult female Sasquatch that's been dubbed "Patty" over the years, or Bob Hieronimus in a monkey suit that was intricate for it's time, depending on who you talk to. Either way, Jim is thoroughly convinced that several local disappearances can be attributed to angry wood boogers, while Kelly is merely along for the ride to provide skeptical smartassery and generally break his balls as he attempts to document the entire experience for a personal film project, a life long dream he's had. Women. If you weren't so damned adorable and delicious...

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"Pete, hand Sasquatch the level, would ya, fer cryin' out loud?!!?"
At first, like a pair of hit-starved YouTubers they film on the side of winding mountain roads, providing documentary-style narration and in-camera edits as they question local Indian women about personal encounters, hear portly cryptozoologists cackle Bigfoot songs as they fumble over acoustic guitars, eat massive Bigfoot burgers at a tourist trap in Willow Creek, but as Kelly's teasing drives Jim to take the project further in seeking out the Bluff Creek river bed where the 1967 film was shot, they encounter interference in the form of angry country folk who tell 'em to g'wan an' git while they still can. Refusing to am-scray in the face of backwoods adversity, Jim hikes his girlfriend into the deep forest anyway and it isn't long before the signature wood knocks and high-pitched screams join the clueless campers, clearly in over their fool-heads already. While trying to vacate the premises in haste, Jim manages to get them lost, even stumbling upon the historic river bed, complete with giant footprints in the mud that look awfully fresh. Men. You gotta love us. It all wraps up much like one might predict it would, at least I know I called it during the coming attractions. Actually, as the cashier was handing me the bag with the disc inside and my change, but hey...

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The Yacumos have the tent surrounded but we're gonna keep film-...sorry, wrong movie.
I dunno, maybe I'm tougher to please than I originally thought, but if you're gonna do a Bigfoot movie in my estimation, the opportunity arises these days to hire stellar FX artists to whip you up the most realistic, believable suit you can afford, for the film's big money shot, if there is a big money shot, that is. Bobcat felt the movie didn't need one, for whatever reason, probably in sticking as close as possible to the wildly popular Blair Witch bargain mold. With no real pay off to speak of after building admirable levels of tension in the tent sequence (unless the nekkid hillbilly chick turns you on, of course), the ending seems a little flat and cheap for a horror movie. Mainstream chimps might be satisfied with the fifteen minutes of general concern that preceded, but like I said, I'm probably tougher to please than the average cymbal smasher that Hollywood targets with these things. The potential was definitely there, but unrealized in the end, unfortunately. Overall, it's still worth seeing. On the scale, two Wops will have to do for Zed from the Police Academy gang's directorial debut.

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"Look over in the treeline...I think I see Egg Stork from 'One Crazy Summer'..."
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