Written and Directed By Justin Lee
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Vega, Baby! Productions
I’m not really much of a Bigfoot enthusiast. My dad believes in all that stuff: aliens, ghosts, the illuminati, Bigfoot. I’m not saying we went on Bigfoot expeditions. It was more like watching never ending documentaries on Bigfoot and extraterrestrial life. But we are not here to discuss my childhood trauma, we are here to talk about one of these legends. A Big Legend. Directed by Justin Lee, Big Legend is the story of an army ranger (Makely) on a mission to uncover the truth of his girlfriend’s (Spiro) disappearance. Turns out, it’s less “lost in the woods” and more “eaten by sasquatch.” He teams up with a local hunter (Robinson), who has his sights set on catching a glimpse of the beast within the forest.
Kevin Makely plays Tyler Laird, a normal man whose life is changed by Bigfoot eating his girlfriend. Makely does a credible job carrying the movie during the dull moments of stalking Bigfoot country. There aren’t that many characters in Big Legend, so most of them just set up the plot and move us along to Tyler’s final confrontation Bigfoot. It isn’t Oscar level screenwriting, but it did its job. I was rooting for Tyler, and by the end I was hoping he didn’t wind up as Bigfoot turds.
It’s not really a mythical monster movie if you don’t eventually team up with that special someone who knows more than the main character. Filling this role is Bigfoot hunter Eli Verunde, played by Todd A. Robinson. Eli is the most knowledgeable character on the big man himself, but has never actually seen the cryptid critter. After so many years of catching big game, a glimpse of Bigfoot was to be his ultimate prize. While we get an introduction for Tyler, Natalie (Tyler’s girlfriend), and even Tyler’s psychiatric doctor, Eli kind of just shows up. The characters never even introduce themselves. So Eli is just the, “Hunter Guy,” and he calls Tyler, “Chief.” That is until Tyler starts calling Eli “Chief,” making writing this whole review very confusing. Good idea for a drinking game, though. Take a sip every time someone says chief, a whole shot every time you get confused, and chug when you wish something interesting was happening.
The biggest issue I had with Big Legend was the pacing. It gets bogged down way too much in the story, and skimps on the good ol’ limb ripping Bigfoot action. There weren’t a lot of moments that made “Big Legend” memorable. I was consistently let down, with perfect opportunities for scares and action fizzling out into more dialogue. I didn’t expect something to happen at every tense moment, but I would have liked at least something. Maybe some furry claws grab Tyler or hunter guys face from behind. You know, basic bigfoot stuff. That would have been great! You don’t even have to kill them, just maim them a little. My excitement levels would’ve gone from 40 to 90.
Major spoiler: If you do not want to know what happens to Bigfoot, skip this paragraph.
In the final act, Tyler and Bigfoot square off in a fight to the death. Sounds pretty one sided, Bigfoot being a Bigfoot and all, but Tyler turns the tables with the power of fire. Slick move, Tyler. Seeing Bigfoot engulfed in flames was pretty awesome for a few seconds, until he runs off like a cartoon character…in sped up motion. It was pretty silly. I was getting all excited to see Bigfoot’s ultimate demise, and he just runs off into the woods like startled bear.
*END OF SPOILERS*
In terms of gory details, it wasn’t the fiesta of blood and guts I would have liked. But it wasn’t bad. There was a nasty broken leg with some bone peaking out. The blood looked okay, but the longer it was on the screen the more it started to look like a blood orange. Not actually seeing Bigfoot rip any limbs off was a bit of bummer, but we can’t always get what we want. What I did find impressive was seeing Bigfoot actually eating someone. A nice level of blood and crunching noises, with a side of screaming. It’s fun when we get to see Bigfoot do monster stuff.
I have to say what I admire about Justin Lee is that he is trying to do what Universal failed to do with the Dark Universe. At the end when Tyler Laird survives and wakes up in a hospital room, he is approached by a man named Jackson Wells who is putting together a team of, I suppose, monster slayers. Big Legend wasn’t the best movie, but if Justin Lee is planning to create a Dark Universe of his own using Mythical Monsters as the primary target, I’ll be keeping an eye on his progression. Are we going to see The Jersey Devil next? The Chupacabra? Or even The Loch Ness Monster?!?
Big Legend was a bit dull, but wasn’t a complete wash. The final confrontation with Tyler and Bigfoot was a fun watch, and Tyler deserved getting that job offer in becoming a monster slayer. If Justin Lee is attempting to bring something bigger to his own monster universe, this probably wasn’t a great start. If they fixed the pacing and added a bit more blood and guts, this could have been a solid monster flick. It’s pretty clear that they wanted to do more, but budget constraints means padding time, and padding time means lots of shots of Tyler walking around in a forest. It is not easy making a great low budget film, but it is possible. There are tons successful of low budget movies, especially in the horror genre. With good story, even just three people getting lost in the woods can be a smash hit. Here’s hoping that the next installment of Lee’s “Monster Chronicles” will come with a little more polish.
Big Legend was okay, but not super memorable. With some more polish in the script and a little more work on the pacing, it could have been a great introduction to a new monster universe Lee has in development.