Directed by Corey Grant (interview here)
Written by Brian P. Kelsey and Bryan O’Cain
You knew it wouldn’t be long before the found footage sub-genre of horror and the legend of Bigfoot intersected. Hell, Bigfoot’s entire career has been found footage. Now we get Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes, the found footage version of “you put your chocolate in my peanut butter/you got your peanut butter on my chocolate.” Bigfoot is finally home.
Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes is the story of Sean Reynolds. He’s a journalist whose career was ruined when he fell victim to a hoax. Now Reynolds has gotten a tip that there is a Bigfoot hunter in Northern California claiming to have the body of a dead Bigfoot. He invests all the money he has (and then some) to record the story. But this time he approaches the story as a skeptic and is out to prove this Bigfoot hunter is a fake. The result is a Cloverfield-like journey into the woods of ‘Bigfoot Country’ where we manage brief glimpses of the beasts throughout the film.
Making his horror feature film directorial debut, Corey Grant led his team to actual Bigfoot country in Humboldt County, California, to shoot this film. And for his first soiree into horror as well as his first found-footage picture, Grant does a commendable job. Viewers will be happy to know that Grant consciously eliminated much of the random camera movement that we’ve come to accept with found-footage films and tried to create something a little more watchable for the audience.
There is a nice, spooky mood set in the cabin where the group stays with the Bigfoot hunter, although a little more story would have been nice. There are a couple of laughs and a legitimate scare or two, however not much character development at all. And although there is action, it does take a while to get going, and then it’s sporadic.
The cast is enjoyable. Drew Rausch and Rich McDonald play well off each other as the host of the show and his trusty cameraman. Ashley Wood is intriguing as the beautiful and spiritual Robyn Conway, who seems to be in tune with the spirits of the woods. Noah Weisberg provides most of the comedy as the Jesse Eisenberg-like sound guy who just can’t seem to keep the boom out of the shot. Frank Ashmore is great as the mysterious Carl Drybeck, the Bigfoot hunter that may or may not have the body of one of the beasts somewhere under lock and key.
One of the strong points of the film is the fact that the viewer is kept guessing as to whether the film crew is unveiling a hoax or if they’ve actually stumbled on a legitimate Bigfoot event. There are enough factors in play that the viewer can’t be too sure for a good portion of the film. When we finally begin to learn what the actual truth is, the action comes fast. But just as we think we know exactly what is going on, Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes throws a huge curveball at us during the climax of the film. It does make the ending unique; however, the story may have been more powerful if the film had stuck to the original plotline and not thrown in the big twist.
Finally, there were some pretty elaborate effects and stunts in the film that certainly required some rigging to yank the actors around in a violent manner. Some of the F/X work looked amazing, and some was a bit hokey and rigid. The bloody effects were nicely done and a solid addition to the film.
Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes does a nice job of setting the mood and capturing the ferocity of the wilderness. Director Corey Grant’s more controlled found footage style made the film much easier to watch than many that have come before, and the cool F/X successes enhanced the picture. Some additional character development and a story that’s more focused would have improved the film. Overall, Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes is a decent film, although not without its flaws.
2 1/2 out of 5