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  Willow Creek Don't Gimme Your Sass(Quatch)
Year: 2013
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Stars: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson, Peter Jason, Tom Yamarone
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1967, the world was shocked by a clip of film apparently depicting a Bigfoot walking near a river towards the woods, and that footage, thereafter known as the Patterson-Gimlin film after the two men who captured it on their handheld camera, was shot around a place called Willow Creek. Now, an amateur documentary maker named Jim (Bryce Johnson) is accompanied by his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) out to that very location in the forests of the northern United States for a movie he is making. It is solely this couple who are creating this project, one holding the camera while the other addresses it, but could it be that even with this apparently simple set-up they are in over their heads?

That Patterson-Gimlin clip kicked off a whole bunch of Bigfoot movies which continue to this very day, therefore the found footage efforts which happened along in the wake of the enormous success of The Blair Witch Project in 1999 were a perfect match for the possibly mythical beast. Really they took their cue from another well known movie, this one from the nineteen-seventies: The Legend of Boggy Creek, a simple, even sentimental telling of a local Bigfoot yarn which was crude enough to be oddly convincing to its target audience. That too had its imitators, and writer/director/self-confessed Sasquatch aficionado Bobcat Goldthwait's efforts here owed something to it.

Goldthwait had been known for comedy, both in his stand up and acting and the films he began to direct in a second career, though those were of a decidedly offbeat nature, which made his straying into the low budget horror genre somewhat baffling. There were laughs here, but you couldn't classify it as one of his out and out comedies, and to many eyes it was just too similar to countless other found footage movies out there, which made it disappointing this director should join their ranks. That said, if the world truly needed yet another one of these, you could console yourself in knowing it was fairly well done and notably more professional than a number of its peers, acknowledging its debts to other works while against the odds finding a little twist here and there to mark itself out.

In Blair Witch fashion, Willow Creek sees its opening act taken up with interviews with locals, some of whom have their own stories to tell about meeting with Sasquatch, which offers the impression Goldthwait might have liked to expand on these accounts for something more like the other notable Bigfoot film of this year, Shooting Bigfoot which had audiences wondering how much was staged and how much real. This was pretty obviously staged aside from those interviews, although one of them was plainly an actor presenting a story about how his pet dog was torn in half by some mysterious creature which is meant to be foreshadowing of some sort, but turns out to be adding to the enigma of what is happening in the final five minutes.

Goldthwait, in rather more acustomed ground in comparison with his other directorial efforts, took what by now were clich├ęs and used them to comment on the relationship of Jim and Kelly. When we meet them they are very much in love, but by the conclusion they have gone through affection to getting on each other's nerves to outright blazing rows and tears, thereby offering the viewer a look at how a romantic connection can turn sour which seems inevitable both in the modern milieu and this setting of a fictional film depicting what may be uncomfortably accurate to some watching. But that you could take or leave, as in the main Willow Creek went through various points to have us wondering if by the credits roll we would have seen a man in a Bigfoot costume or not, with the two filmmakers camping in the middle of the forest and increasingly menaced by... something... out there making strange noises and eventually resorting to more physical means of terrorising them. For all his talent, Goldthwait was not able to distinguish this from many contemporaries, but it was amusing enough.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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