Starring Matt Lattimore, Amy Shelton-White, Kevin O’Connor, Gary Sturm
Directed by Fred Tepper
I’ve been joking for sometime now that 2005 is going to be the year of the pissed off Bigfoot flick. I know of at least two other homicidal Bigfoot movies awaiting release, but the first one out of the gates is Sasquatch Hunters. Good news for the makers of those other killer Bigfoot films, the bar has now been set low; very low. As a matter of fact, Sasquatch Hunters could quite possibly lay claim to the distinction of being the single most boring Bigfoot flick ever made.
Sasquatch Hunters is about a group of paleontologists, primatologists, and forest rangers that venture off into a remote part of a Pacific Northwest forest. Bones belonging to some sort of abnormally large primate have been discovered in this region and since apes aren’t natural to North America to begin with this leads to a scientific expedition. Sure enough, they soon discover a whole burial ground full of the skeletal remains of these enormous ape-like creatures. I think we all know what happens to people that disturb ancient burial grounds in the movies.
Aside from a brief, nonsensical pre-title sequence where Sasquatch kills a trio of beer-swilling rednecks that appear to have taken a wrong turn somewhere in Arkansas somehow ending up on the West Coast, the first half of the movie consists of uninteresting, interchangeable characters assembling their gear, hiking through the woods, stopping to rest, hiking through the woods some more, pausing long enough to investigate and discuss a few findings along the way, yet more hiking through the woods, looking for a group member that has vanished, even more hiking through the woods, digging through dirt, random theorizing, and gathering around a campfire to discuss what little they’ve done that day.
Then Sasquatch finally shows up again, and from here on out we get endless scenes of people skulking about the woods at night as they’re picked off one at a time by the monster followed by the surviving characters holed up inside an old shack where they do more random theorizing about stuff already quite obvious to everyone except them while trying to plot an escape and fend off the monster.
All of this is excruciatingly boring, and that even includes the all to brief attack scenes, most of which are done in a blink and you missed it fashion. The movie wants to be taken seriously and the director is clearly trying to build suspense but there is none to be found, thus leaving us with dull, drawn out scenes of people wandering around the woods at night trying to act scared. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make liberal use of the fast forward button to speed these scenes up. As I’ve often complained about many DTV films of late, this is one of those movies that doesn’t so much have a plot as it does a premise. That’s all it really is, a premise, which the people involved have made and stretched out into a feature length motion picture.
It only comes to life very briefly in the final five minutes when the survivors make a mad dash for a jeep while being chased by a whole pack of Sasquatch. I couldn’t help but to wonder if this is what the ending to Congo would have looked like to someone high on crystal meth at the time. Still, even though this is the liveliest moment in the entire film, it still isn’t anywhere near as entertaining as one would think seeing people by chased from a horde of murderous Bigfeet would be.
As for Sasquatch himself, much like everyone else in the movie, it doesn’t have much to do and lacks a distinct personality. It looks like a shaggier version of King Kong, which isn’t all that bad except in the scenes where they used CGI instead of a man in a Bigfoot costume. Actually, the nighttime CGI Sasquatch scenes don’t look too bad but the daytime ones, oof, some of them are positively wretched. There are a few shots, primarily during the finale, where the CGI Sasquatch ends up looking like a great big, blurry furball with a gorilla mask for a head. And to be perfectly honest, there is a part of me that can’t help but feel that even using computer effects to bring Bigfoot to life is a tad sacrilegious. If there is any single movie monster that I believe should only be brought to life through suitmation, it’s Bigfoot.
There have been many movies featuring Bigfoot, the majority of which are not good but most at least have a goofy charm to them. Sasquatch Hunters doesn’t even have that going for it. It’s just a crashing bore.
Oh well. That’s one down, two to go.
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