Since the Paterson-Gimlin footage of an apparently B-cupped Bigfoot in 1967, the cryptozoological creature has starred in a shelf-full of B-movies, some of them entertaining, very few of them worth a second look. My very first article for Blogcritics covered a quartet of Sasquatchian features, which offered a smattering of the kind of hairy charms that redeem bad movies, most prominent being “You’re just a sensuous tiger,” the incongruously funky number in the middle of The Capture Of Bigfoot. The song’s keening guitar riff and pulsating beat conveyed the speed and power of everybody’s favorite humanoid monster, as well as the swaying heat of a late 1970s cabin party. The beast also inspired a briefly-lived Saturday morning television show in Bigfoot and Wildboy, a lesser product in the C.V. of Sid and Marty Kroft which, nevertheless, had an appealing minimalist aesthetic.
This brings us to Lionsgate Entertainment’s Bigfoot County, which opens with the iconic Paterson-Gimlin footage and devolves steadily from there. Lionsgate is a name associated with big-budget entertainment like The Hunger Games and the Twilight franchise, and while those may not be the pinnacle of the cinematic art, they’re at the very least adequate. The same cannot be said of Bigfoot County .
The directorial debut of actor Stephon Stewart, whose resume as an actor includes bit parts on soap operas and a few independent shorts, follows in the contemporary tradition of the found footage horror film. As the story goes, a documentary filmmaker (Stewart) takes his crew to California’s Siskiyou County, home to the largest number of Bigfoot sightings in the world. Vapid dialogue and annoying characters whose death you quickly long for aside, this is a promising concept. As an aficionado of Bigfootiana, I was happy to catch a glimpse of the minor tourist trade that has grown around these supposed sightings.
There is one decent performance among the talking heads interviewed for this pseudo documentary: character actor Sam Ayers as the bible-thumping Travis deserves better B-movies than this. Most of the movie is amateurish even beyond the conventions of found footage horror. The cast and crew’s wanderings through the California woods contain nods to the Blair Witch Project and Deliverance but fail to make us interested in the hunt, much less in the hunters. When the creature finally appears with its glowing red-eyes, it recalls a superior boring Bigfoot movie, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who can Recall his Past Lives. I wasn’t caught up in that Bigfoot movie’s slow reverie either, but I’d rather see it again than spend another second in Bigfoot County.