Sasq-Watch! sees Nigel (Paul Brittain) embark on a quest into the woods with his brother Oscar (Adam Herschman) to find proof of the sasquatch they saw together as children. Their group also includes the reluctant Jamie (Christine Bently) and hired-in wilderness expert, Samson (Neil Flynn).
The film, also known as Nigel & Oscar vs. The Sasquatch, is rather odd. For starters, it’s a mockumentary that’s predominantly shot like a traditional movie. The entire thing feels a bit like those fourth-wall breaking monologues from Wayne’s World and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Initially, it feels like your average quirky, American, independent movie, but it’s imbued with the disposable madcap energy of things like Saturday Night Live. This is most likely down to the lead, Paul Brittain, who is probably best known as a former cast member on that show, not to mention Claus, the film’s antagonist, played by SNL veteran Tim Meadows.
Claus is Nigel’s archrival; a more successful bigfoot-hunter who, shortly after stealing some of Nigel’s research, mounts a simultaneous sasquatch-hunting expedition in the same location. Unsurprisingly, the two groups butt heads.
Meadows’ performance is a significant highlight and he consistently steals every scene he’s in. The rest of the cast are a mixed bag. Neil Flynn is good, if underused, but Christine Bently’s performance is, quite frankly, desperate. Throughout, Adam Herschman feels as though he’s trying far, far too hard to be funny, which wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the film didn’t lean so hard on him as “the funny one”. Brittain mostly plays the straight-man to him and it doesn’t work.
Special credit deserves to be given to the film’s production designer, Mark A. Terry, who fills the film with a barrage of amusing visual details ranging from childlike drawings done by Nigel and Oscar to the crude contraptions that they’ve built to help find and capture the sasquatch. It gives the film a constant sense of cartoonish fun.
Sadly, the film simply isn’t hugely funny. There’s some definite laugh-out-loud moments dotted around, so it’s worth checking out if you’re a big fan of any of the cast, but the majority of the jokes are weak, poorly performed or both. Having said that, there’s an undeniable charm to the proceedings. It feels like everyone involved was genuinely enjoying themselves and that can sometimes go a long way in a comedy.
Ultimately, Sasq-Watch! is an off-beat and charming, albeit relatively mundane and lacking, affair. Imagine a film directed by Taika Waititi, but he’s somehow lost his fun New Zealand accent and he’s heavily sedated, so the whole thing feels sloppy in places and not particularly thought through. That’s more or less what Sasq-Watch! is like.
SASQ-WATCH! / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DREW HALL / SCREENPLAY: JAMES WELDON / STARRING: PAUL BRITTAIN, ADAM HERSCHMAN, CHRISTINE BENTLY, NEIL FLYNN, TIM MEADOWS / RELEASE DATE: TBC