Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
2014 | 77 Minutes | Not Rated
“I just don’t believe in Bigfoot.” – Kelly
My rummage through the best and very worst of the continually growing found footage horror movie pile continues with director (?) Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek, the first (to my knowledge) found footage bigfoot movie. I was excited for something kind of new for the genre but left feeling like I had seen it all before.
Jim (Bryce Johnson) convinces his skeptic girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) to join him in the filming of his bigfoot documentary at Willow Creek in California, the alleged location of one of the most famous bigfoot sightings in North America.
Probably the best thing Willow Creek has going for it are the two main characters. Both actors perform admirably, creating characters that are realistic and likable. Alexie Gilmore’s Kelly is the most easily relatable being that she’s a non-bigfoot-believer and… well… pretty cute. Nobody wants to see cute girls get hurt.
The main problem with Willow Creek is the unoriginality of it all. So much of it feels like it has been done before, and very often in better fashion. It almost feels like Goldthwait made a list of his favorite shots from previously made found footage flicks and just checked them off as he filmed.
The best scene of the bunch is an extended cut of the couple being terrorized in their tent. They are stuck in their tent hearing all kinds of sounds outside with the only protection from a presumed horrible death being that thin layer of nylon that barely protects most campers from a little rain. Anybody that’s ever done any camping knows the feeling of vulnerability the couple must be feeling here.
The final scene… the final reveal is where so many found footage movies are let down. You spend so much time building to something and very often are let down by what you actually get. Willow Creek falls right in line with all the found footage disappointments that have come before. The way I look at it, watching this one is looking for one of two things to happen: either Jim and Kelly find bigfoot or they find some sort of conspiracy where crazy locals have kept this crazy legend going. What we get is actually neither… kind of. I guess I don’t want to completely ruin the ending for people that want to give it a shot for themselves but I honestly don’t know what I ended up seeing right at the very end. I actually rewinded and rewatched the scene multiple times and I still don’t quite know what I saw. The entire reveal is all of about 2 seconds long so it’s just way too quick to be the culmination of the back and forth “real or not” question. What I do know is it felt like a big cop out.
It’s probably a little unfair to compare any found footage movie that happens to feature a camping trip to the Blair Witch Project but I just couldn’t help it with Willow Creek. I wanted to like it, and did like many parts of it, but the whole was unfortunately less than the sum of its parts.