Horror fans often get the short end of the stick when it comes to quality because the genre seems to have a higher percentage of utter dreck than just about any type of movie. Part of the problem is that the genre has a high profit-to-cost ratio, but more recently the issue is that we as fans are a very forgiving bunch. How else to explain the inundation of horror movies that open with some variation of this:
“The following footage was an attempt to document that discovery…”
That’s right. Found footage films have lowered the bar of quality across the genre. They’re not all bad of course, but for every Rec or Troll Hunter we get ten Apollo 18s or Greystone Parks. So what’s the one ingredient that you think would guarantee a found footage success?
A group of filmmakers hoping to launch a reality show head into the Northern California woods for evidence that Bigfoot truly does exist. They hire an old hunter to be their guide and to show them evidence in the form of a fresh carcass. Unsurprisingly, things do not go as planned.
It’s a found footage film so it’s safe to assume pretty much everyone eats it.
You’d think with a murderous Bigfoot wandering the premises that the carnage would result in a bloody mess on the ground, walls and ceilings. Sadly, aside from a few splashes of the wet stuff the gore and grue is fairly absent.
The film’s sole woman is easy on the eyes, but she’s fully clothed throughout except for a brief scene where she pulls her pants down to reveal a giant, ugly bruise on her thigh.
Just give Sasquatch the damn SlimJim already.
Sean Reynolds (Drew Rausch) is looking to get back into the reality TV business, and he thinks he’s found the perfect subject in Bigfoot. A man named Carl Drybeck (Frank Ashmore) claims to have a dead one in a box and some live ones roaming around his cabin each night so Reynolds puts together a crew and heads into the deep, dark woods. Their first night at Drybeck’s cabin sees a visit from something big outside, but Reynolds thinks it’s all part of a scam. He’s okay with that of course as long as it earns him the ratings, but when the crew becomes trapped in the woods and another night closes in he becomes less concerned with success and more concerned with staying alive.
The problems with found footage films are legion which explains why the good ones are so few and far between. Unfortunately, the problems with Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes are equally numerous. From the unnecessarily consistent shaky-cam to the highly suspect “acting” to the annoying habit of the camera-holders turning their attention towards their friends instead of towards the thing that’s attacking them, director Corey Grant pulls out all the usual hazards that slowly but surely sink his film.
It’s a shame too because there are two uniquely fun elements introduced by Bryan O’Cain and Brian Kelsey‘s script. As already noted, Bigfoot is huge plus that makes you wonder why the creature hasn’t been a found footage target until now. Movies like The Legend of Boggy Creek and Abominable have proven the hairy beast capable of being both scary and incredibly fun when handled right, but the idea is almost all we get of the big guy here aside from some extremely quick shots and background movement.
Also interesting is a third act revelation that maybe Bigfoot and friends aren’t the only things hiding in the forest. I’ll avoid further details except to say this concept opens up some truly fun and entertaining narrative options… all of which are promptly ignored in favor of what? Maintaining mystery? Saving money on the effects budget? It’s unclear why this idea wasn’t developed further, and it’s a damn shame.
Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes squanders two truly fresh ideas and seems content resting on the laurels of the found footage label. That was a big, hairy, smelly mistake for everyone involved.
The Upside: The film has two good ideas in the form of adding Bigfoot and a third act revelation
The Downside: The film has no clue what to do with those ideas; the acting is not good; avoids any clear shot of the creature; distinct lack of gore or scares
On the Side: Frank Ashmore starred in an episode of “Shadow Chasers.” Give yourself two cool points if you’re familiar with that series.