“A “Cryptid” (from the Greek “κρύπτω” (krypto) meaning “hide”) is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is not yet recognized by scientific consensus. Popular examples include Sasquatch, The Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabra”
When i first discovered Sasquatch Hunters, I found it in a second hand DVD store and paid $3 for it. I think I can safely say I’ve gotten my monies worth from it. It concerns a group of 3 scientists trekking into the woods to hopefully find evidence of a mysterious creature matching bones they have found. The crew is accompanied by no less than 5 park rangers to escort them and keep them safe. What in the hell is out in those woods that would necessitate 5 fucking rangers? Well, yeah…Sasquatch…WE know that, but they aren’t supposed to! Once we meet the scientists, we quickly learn that there won’t be a whole lot of depth there, as all of them are predictable archetypes. There is the ageing professor, full of experience, a little world weary, and rife with exposition. I’ll call him Professor Exposition, since all the characters are so forgettable I honestly can’t remember any of their names. Next we have a younger and understatedly pretty Dr. Ape. She has spent extensive time studying apes and primates and this expedition is really her baby. Next we have the blonde with the tits. the ultra expendable research assistant, Tits.
Want to see this exact same Archetypical trio done the right way? Go watch Thor. The rangers aren’t much better, as again there is no reason to care about them. We have the Chief, who is an anti-personality, serving no purpose other than to bring in the services of a former ranger of apparently peerless skill, using the ol’ “I can’t do this without you line” (again, for a group that is apparently ignorant to the presence of anything out of the ordinary, and going on what is repeatedly referred to as a babysitting mission, WHY THE FUCK are all these rangers needed?). He’s the Ace of the group, the only thing missing is for him to cryptically mutter “Stick with me if you want to live”.
Check out how Manly he is!
*BWAH! Fuck you! I shoot my gun whenever I like! Fuck you AND your trees!*
Next we have the young up and comer, the next in line for title of best Ranger of all time, and almost assuredly the first to be killed, Skip. We also have Plucky, Skips younger sister, fed up with desk work and craving to get out in the field, this over-achieving, innocent little bundle of nice is eager to impress the senior rangers, and seems to have a bit of a crush on Ace. Then there is Dick. Dick is a dick, makes lame misogynistic passes at Tits, routinely has the least helpful contributions to make to both conversations and situations in general…he exists solely to remind us that the group is doomed.
The plot is as cookie cutter as the characters, literally everything you expect to happen, does happen, They hike, they hike, inappropriately epic music plays (I think the composer had a hard-on for Jurassic park). An interesting wrinkle is they find a Sasquatch graveyard, ‘Squatchy gets pissed off, then one by one the group is picked off. It’s “Film-making for Dummies”.
And then there is the creature. Holy fuck…THE CREATURE! It looks…well, exactly how you’d imagine an aggressive Sasquatch to look. Hugeified, shaggy black fur, Ape like face, scary teeth, etc…But it is rendered in horrible CGI. We’ve all seen bad CGI in the past, and its not even that this is bad…it just doesn’t fit the film at all. It looks like the animation used in discovery channel documentaries when they are trying to show some prehistoric animal. looks ok when everything else around it is also in CGI, but when compared to live action in the same shot, it falls flat on its face. Occasionally there will be a Live action shot of the creature, revealing a blatantly normal sized figure in a bad fur suit. But wait…there’s more! They even attempt a shot of the live action dude in a suit, running towards the camera…with the CGI face, growling and roaring, superimposed on the head. Jesus Christ! The only redeeming value to be found in this film is if you love bad movies and have a soft spot for Bigfoot, but again…I’m glad I only paid $3 for this one.
BIGFOOT: THE LOST COAST TAPES
This found footage piece had a lot of hype, and really intrigued me, yet after viewing it, i felt somewhat let down. Not because the film was poorly made or executed, more for the direction they took with it. The story concerns a small crew travelling to the Nor-Cal area (lost coast to be specific) to film a reality TV show called Hoax Busters. They have a contact who claims to have in his possession the corpse of a juvenile Sasquatch. Before the crew even leaves, their original sound tech backs out. His reason for doing so? Because he’s black, and “knows what happens when a black man goes tromping through the woods with a bunch of white folks, looking for Bigfoot” HA!
Upon meeting their contact, Dryback, We learn he is paranoid, shifty, and seems to be a true believer. He seems to have an agenda of explaining his experiences, theories and findings on Sasquatch. The host, Sean, feels the whole thing is a hoax, demanding that proof be presented without the explanations. Dryback hints at something far more complex, but never gets the chance to properly explain anything as the crew begins to experience strange calls, and disturbances in the night. Panic sets in as the crew discovers all exits are blocked, leaving them no way out. The whole while, we are left to wonder whether all this is being staged, or if something really is out there. Through foreshadowing we are lead to the idea there is something more to the activity than simply a large primate in the woods, climaxing in a bizarre ending that leaves far more questions than answers. I very badly want to go into more detail and discuss this twist, but I want to avoid too many spoilers. I encourage all of you, GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!
In regards to my earlier assessment of the film being a let-down, please let me make it clear that it does not come from this being a bad movie. Far from it. I think this is one of the better Sasquatch films I have seen. The twist that was taken left me feeling flat because I was expecting a straight up monster in the woods movie. What we got is at worst a entertaining found footage film, and at best a thought provoking piece on the nature of the Sasquatch legend. It’s unique enough to leave me thinking about it after the credits roll.
If you are going to watch this movie, do not do so immediately after watching Lost Coast Tapes, you will find way to many similarities and may even think it is the same film at times. Another found footage piece, another small documentary crew, another shady guide of questionable credibility. The un-nerving foreshadowing in this film instead comes from semi-hostile locals and the knowledge that the woods in the area hide several cartel-run Marijuana grow-ops. Again, in the interest of remaining as spoiler free as possible, I’ll omit any further details of the story. This film is also worth a look for the believably of what we are seeing. The Characters are far more likeable than most in these films, The suspension of disbelief is logical and then plausible “explained” only to have one final hook that grabs us again. This one is also low on rampaging beast footage, but it still manages to be engaging enough for me to watch it more than once.
All in all, I’d say this is a 2/3 ain’t bad situation. Sasquatch Hunters is laughable, Lost Coast Tapes and Bigfoot County are cool entries into the genre, but are disappointingly low on creature action. I would certainly recommend watching both of the later, and passing up the former, unless drunk.
Next time though…I better see armies of Sasquatch…killing, raping, and rampaging all over the screen.