Review: The Bigfoot Tapes / Cert: 15 / Director: Stephon Stewart / Screenplay: Stephon Stewart / Starring: Stephon Stewart, Davee Youngblood, Shy Pilgreen / Release Date: May 6th
Bigfoot has been pretty much left alone recently as far as horror films go. There is the odd movie here and there but mainly it seems that people are afraid to tackle him when there must be lots of material to mine into good scripts. So while we wait for Bobcat Goldthwaite’s forthcoming found footage Bigfoot movie, we have to put up with The Bigfoot Tapes.
It starts well with a young man and his brother and girlfriend being intrigued by a 911 call that made the news, with Bigfoot apparently killing a man’s dog. They travel to middle America and the county the call originated from with camera in hand and set about tracking the man down. When they find him, it’s not clear whether this deeply religious person is delusional or actually onto something. They head into the woods and the man’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and there are stories of marijuana farmers operating in the area. They can’t shake the noises that occur in the night, though, that sound less than human.
The Bigfoot Tapes begins promisingly and introduces a bunch of characters that, whilst not exactly likeable, are on the right side of authentic and are played by actors who give convincing performances. It's once they get to the woods that the film falls apart. There are dozens of red herrings; you are never quite sure if the strange occurrences are the product of a homicidal maniac or the overzealous weed mafia operating in the woods. The film seems to want you to remain confused too and it doesn’t help that even for a found footage film, the framing in this is terrible. Tense and uncomfortable scenes will occur with the action taking place in the extreme corner of the frame as the camera has been put on the ground sideways or on a car seat. Once would be all right, but not every single damn time, seriously.
This isn’t the only thing that hampers the film; it also suffers from not really knowing what kind of movie it wants to be. The few glimpses of something with red eyes and possibly an excess of hair are welcome but they occur very seldom, and then out of blue at the climax you are shown a pretty nasty rape scene which seems as if it’s been inserted from another film entirely.
The actors give it their all and the backwoods Americans we see in the film have a physical appearance that is hard to fake. This authenticity is not backed up by enough directorial savviness, however. One day there will be a classic movie made about Bigfoot. This isn’t it.