November 13, 2012 (U.S. DVD)
Bryan O'Cain, Brian Kelsey
Drew Rausch as Sean Reynolds
Rich McDonald as Darryl Coleman
Ashley Wood as Robyn Conway
Noah Weisberg as Kevin Lancaster
Frank Ashmore as Carl Drybeck
A day will come in which we see the release of a quality, contemporary Bigfoot film. It’s inevitable. The right man will get his hands on a top notch script and fans will finally see the birth of something special. Bigfoot’s long been overlooked by Hollywood, and when attention does turn to the beast, yielded pictures tend to fall far short of rewarding. Corey Grant’sBigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes is just one of the many to come up short on top notch frills.
Corey Grant clearly tries to create something special with Bigfoot, but the mark is missed, and it’s not entirely his fault: Bryan O’Cain and Brian Kelsey’s story is overwrought with loads of filler and scarce tangible fear. This is just not a frightening flick in any way, and the picture’s antagonists are kept out of sight… pretty much the entire time. To keep the creatures out of the bright lights in build up to a gratifying reward would work quite well, but the reward went AWOL, likely traveling with his buddy fear.
The picture is standard fare in every sense of the term: group of young filmmakers visit rural landscape where monster attacks. There’s a spin interjected in the story (prepare for a bit of vagueness as I’ll tread lightly in order to avoid spoilers), and respect is issued for the attempt at creating something unique, but if you’re going to create it, showcase it. Some films can get away with “cheap” conclusions. Found footage flicks sprout from a more challenging branch of the horror tree in regards to big finishes. Sure, subtlety can work, just look at The Blair Witch Project. While the film hasn’t aged well, that final shot of Mike stuck in time-out down in that creepy basement was rather jarring upon initial viewing. But Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez were cut from a different cloth, and they understand what it requires to establish a dreadful presence and then let it build until so taut a deep exhalation can snap that wire of fear. That’s rare.
The subtle approach fails more than the primitive and that’s probably why you see fewer filmmakers attempting to be mysterious when taking on the old handy-cam approach. Considering the film’s premise, you’d think primitive would have been a first choice for Grant and company, but such is not the case. After coasting (on full autopilot might I add) through about 70 minutes of chatter and about 11 minutes of action, viewers are thrust into this frenzied finish that keeps the monsters out of frame, the lights bright enough to mask the production’s monetary issues and the overall impact virtually undetectable. There’s just nothing stimulating in this climax, whatsoever.
If ever there was a film that needed to produce big fireworks in order to save the entire production, it’s Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes. Apparently no one passed Grant that memo.
The cast lives up to their end of the deal, providing some effective performances (the greatest performance is offered forth by Japheth Gordon who has a whole whopping three minutes screen time), and the settings and set pieces look beautiful. The Bigfoot have quite a bit of potential, based solely on the 1.1 second of screen time they’re gifted, but none of these positives amount to much as all the qualities of the feature are negated by the detracting points. The pacing is miserable (I would have sworn on my grandmother’s grave this one exceeded the two hour mark by at least five minutes, but further inspection reveals the picture runs a mere 85 minutes), the body of the film (second act) does absolutely nothing to draw the audience in and again, I’ll reiterate, that finale was about as disappointing as one could imagine.
You can see quite clearly that a lot of hard work went into the creation of this film. There’s heart here, but it’s not big enough to overcome the pitfalls that should have been quite obvious after a scan of the script. The story needs a lot of work, no two ways about it. An 85 minute film should leave viewers agitated that the thrill is gone, not agitated because they’re required to drink three sodas in order to stay awake (the wife couldn’t make it through this one, succumbing to sleep about two thirds in). And if you’re going to force the audience to sit around for well over an hour while absolutely nothing transpires, you’ve absolutely got to deliver huge with the climax.
There’s more conjecture than substance crammed into this final reveal, and it simply does not work. It’s great to see a new Bigfoot flick hit the market, but it’s impossible to consider this anything more than another case of gross negligence. Let that monster breathe, damn it!