The year's two found footage horror movies about Bigfoot couldn't be more different.
“Willow Creek,” Bobcat Goldthwait’s take on the mythical creature, captured the spirit of the town where Bigfoot’s legend lives.
“Exists,” which played Oct. 11 at the Mile High Horror Film Festival before its Oct. 24 release, renders Bigfoot in all its glory. And that’s more or less it.
Director Eduardo Sanchez of “The Blair Witch Project” fame returns to the found footage format with dispiriting results. Those doomed “Blair Witch” filmmakers were trying to capture a ghost story, even if we screamed for them to drop the camera when the witch hit the fan.
“Exists” doesn’t remotely justify the found footage approach.
Five friends travel into the wood to relax at a remote cabin, a set up so bland it would be meta if “Exists” had anything more on its mind than that big, hairy creature. Their car hits something en route, but they don’t find any dead animal in the roadway so they continue on to the cabin.
The friends start hearing weird howling sounds almost immediately, and soon learn the local rumors about Bigfoot are more than just tall tales. Give “Exists” credit. It doesn’t waste time getting to the good stuff. And the film’s Bigfoot is very, very good – fast, strong and ferocious.
A fight for survival ensues, all captured by a variety of cameras which make a mockery of found footage. The big twist here is the use of GoPro to catch some of the mayhem, which makes the film feel like a Mountain Dew ad. The crush of viewpoints keep taking us out of a movie that does its darndest to bring Bigfoot to life.
“Exists” lacks compelling characters or dialogue to make those Bigfoot-free moments fresh. It’s all on the big guy’s shoulders to carry the movie, and during several well-choreographed sequences that’s more than enough.
Horror fans expect more than that, particularly when everyone from Goldthwait to Sanchez himself have shown what found footage can bring to the genre.
DID YOU KNOW: Brian Steele, the actor in the Bigfoot suit, sent Eduardo Sanchez video of himself doing Sasquatch-style moves in his L.A. backyard during the production.
2014 MHHFF Review: ‘Exists’