Monday, January 7, 2013

The Cinema File #78: "Bigfoot" Review

Hello again everyone, and welcome to the official start of Big Foot season, whereupon I will be reviewing four straight to DVD movies released in 2012 all featuring the famous colossally footed cryptid. First up, to ease us into this, I thought I'd start with one from my favorite schlock factory, The Asylum, appropriately titled simply Bigfoot.

Bigfoot centers around a decades long feud between two former friends brought to a head over an upcoming outdoor music festival and its resulting deleterious effect on the environment, interrupted of course, by Bigfoot. And when I say Bigfoot, I mean Big. The first thing you'll notice about this interpretation of the classic monster is that it is much larger than typically depicted. This bothered me probably more than it should, turning the Sasquatch into a poor man's King Kong (even though the Asylum's already done a mockbuster of that movie, which I'll get to eventually). Even in the midst of the chintzy production, I found myself questioning the logic of how something this big could evade detection for so long, and more importantly, his large size removes pretty much all potential for surprise attacks and mystery.

Of course, even if they had made the creature smaller and more elusive, that potential would have probably already been squandered by the fact that every scene in this movie takes place in broad daylight. They're never able to establish a tone that effectively exploits the terror of the situation, the bad CGI building the creature always in full view, and instead they don't even try, opting instead for a 50's Monster Movie farce that isn't wacky or over the top enough to justify the attempt. The set up involving the rock concert is eerily similar to the plot of Sand Sharks, but shares none of that film's insane abandon or sense of fun, and while a climactic scene on top of Mt. Rushmore could have been epic, especially in light of the monster's propensity to eat heads and throw the bodies away, its too quick a set piece to matter.

This Bigfoot feature seems like a flimsy excuse for nostalgic stunt casting, pitting Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams together in an unnecessary B story that just gets in the way of the action until the second half, and it doesn't even do the nostalgia right. These are two stars of the seventies playing characters who were prominent in the eighties. I can't bring myself to care about the main thrust of the story, just wanting Bigfoot to smash through much sooner than it does. Bonaduce is as Bonadoucie as always, and Williams plays an environmentalist with an odd and unexplained cultishness, leading a harem of young woman who seemingly worship him even as he leads them all to their deaths trying to save this noble murderous creature. Alice Cooper shows up for a cameo to get killed by Bigfoot, which I only just count as a bright spot, because while I did chuckle at the moment, it like so many moments like it seems tacked on and forced.

The Asylum's Bigfoot is available on Netflix streaming, but I still wouldn't bother with it. So much of it comes off as this company trying to capture the craziness of some of its early efforts without the passion for doing so, forcing ridiculousness rather than letting it develop on its own from an earnest attempt to make something awesome. I found myself wishing Bruce Davison's sheriff, also the director, was given more to do. Bigfoot movies should be about hunting Bigfoot in the woods, mano a beasto, not two hasbeen musicians (the characters played by the two hasbeen musician/actors) bickering over who slept with whose mother (a motif that I gather was supposed to be funny, but was not). This isn't the worst Asylum movie I've ever seen, or even the most boring, but it did feel the longest despite a basically average running time.

Even if you love movies about murderous missing links, this one is probably safe to skip.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Reb Browneriffic romp through the woods with the even lower budgets Night Claws. See you soon.


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