VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

After his mother died, Michael’s dad Roger managed to drink his way out of a job and the pair out of their house. Now the two of them are forced to live in a run down cabin in the woods owned by Michael’s uncle. Roger isn’t much interested in finding any work, and Michael is dismayed by their new living arrangement. Upon arrival it’s clear something violent happened at the cabin but they chalk it up to vandals and move in anyway.


Soon after Michael’s uncle Will arrives with Roger’s friend Sergio, a tedious douchebag, for a weekend of drinking and hunting. As Michael doesn’t want to drink and isn’t interested in hunting he thinks things can’t get much worse. But a logging company cutting down swathes of the forest is about to prove him wrong. Their activity has put a family of Sasquatch on the move and the cabin is directly in their path.


But before then we need long stretches where nowt of interest happens. Sergio marks himself out as a charm-deficient git, and the other three circle each other checking for personality, but alas, nothing is discovered. They wander around the woods for a bit, argue, fight and generally endear themselves to no one, least of all an audience, until the family Bigfoot shows up.


Although it's a low budget labour for Portanova, the Washington state scenery is a big plus, and he knows if he points the camera at some trees he’s onto a winner. Having said that, despite having a huge natural filmset on hand a lot of the film feels like a mid-season episode of a minor league sci-fi show. It has that we-shoot-in-Vancouver feel.


Dramatically it’s inert, none of the conflict between the father and son rising much above soap opera level. As a horror film it’s not especially gory and certainly isn't scary, more likely inadvertently comical. There’s often a listlessness to proceedings and subsequently there’s no real oomph to much of what transpires.


If a straight-up Bigfoot flick is your cryptozoological cinematic bag then that’s definitely what Portanova is aiming for. From the opening scene where another hunter encounters the creatures to the Sasquatch-siege finale, they're on screen frequently. This isn’t the mysterious slow discovery of the creature, but a show all as often as possible.


So then, it’s not particularly good. If you’re hoping for a scary creature-feature throwback, this is not the film you're looking for. But if you’re an undemanding Sasquatch enthusiast you get plenty of a dudes-in-hairy-suits bang for your buck. To those people it’s mildly recommended as you’ll get what you expect, another in a long line of not particularly good Bigfoot features. For everyone else it’s a pass.


VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH (HUNTING GROUNDS) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JOHN PORTANOVA / STARRING: MILES JORIS-PEYRAFITTE, JASON VAIL, BILL OBERST JR, DAVID SAUCEDO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW





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