We venture in to the woods for a monster movie that features the little used Bigfoot as its hairy antagonist. City boy Ben (John Bobek) and former country girl Annie (Tarah DeSpain) head to North Carolina to visit Annie’s old home town. After Annie reconnects with an old friend who she used to go on Bigfoot hunting trips with, they decide to take an impromptu camping trip to the woods to reminisce and look for Bigfoot.
You don’t tend to find a lot of Bigfoot horror films. Unlike his more popular horror antagonists, the zombie, werewolf and vampire, Bigfoot hasn’t been milked of ideas so there is room for a fun and entertaining Bigfoot movie. Unfortunately, Stomping Ground isn’t quite it. You may be hoping for a fun old school monster movie but Stomping Ground, for better or worse, concerns itself mainly with a love triangle as old flame Paul (Jeramy Blackford) tries to get back with Annie while Ben starts to have doubts about his and Annie’s relationship as he sees how much she misses her old country town. This is a dramatic struggle that entertains for a while but it isn’t enough to stretch through the entire running time. Further hints at the possibility of the film becoming a hippie slasher are liberally added but seem as if they’re there just to go against the cliché. The characters are okay but they aren’t fun enough to keep you really interested either.
One of Stomping Ground’s main problems is its tone. When going with an inherently silly story and antagonist as this, it’s important to keep a lightness of touch and tone to the film. Something like Troll Hunter is able to do this well; knowing that it has a silly premise and making the most of it. Stomping Ground seems to reach slightly towards this but never has enough jokes to really turn its attempts in to any genuine fun. It’s never completely dark levels of serious so it just sits, lost somewhere in between. With all the build up to actually getting to Bigfoot you would hope that his appearance would be entertaining, maybe with some over the top gore effects or fun creature design, but all we get in the end, after about an hour of rock throwing teasing, is a man in a dodgy looking suit and mask who is only on screen for two minutes.
Stomping Ground won’t make you fearful of the woods. It’s quite well shot but a dull tone and slow pace hamper what could have been a fun movie.
STOMPING GROUND / DIRECTOR: DAN RIESSER / SCREENPLAY: DAN RIESSER, ANDREW GENSER / STARRING: JOHN BOBEK, JERAMY BLACKFORD, THAD BATEMAN, TARAH DESPAIN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW