Willow Creek (2013)
Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite
Produced by Aimee Pierson
What can I say about Willow Creek? I didn’t dislike it. I like the idea of Bigfoot, in both aspects, as a modern legend or the possibility of a real species. Either way it is an interesting subject. I do have an acceptance of found footage films and own quite a few. And I like indie horror, monster, and sci-fi films; I prefer them to Hollywood blockbusters.
There are many things I liked about the film. A young couple, Jim and Kelly, head deep into the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, making a documentary film on Big Foot. Jim is obsessed with Bigfoot and the 1967 archival footage known as the Patterson-Gimlin film. His intention is to reach the site where this footage was taken for comparison and investigation. He is really hoping to get his own footage of the elusive creature.
On their journey they interview shop owners from both ends of the spectrum, enthusiastic book store proprietors, to apathetic motel owners, on the subject of the enigmatic Bigfoot. The film-making couple is charming and their plight interesting. It appeals to the documentary film watcher in me. By the end I get the feeling that I would’ve preferred to watch the finished documentary over this film. The parts in the tent at night were similar to Blair Witch, only filmed with a better camera with better sound. It made this film somewhat more tolerable but wholly derivative.
(spoilers and angst)
In the end, I like a pay-off. It doesn’t have to be a big budget finale. Something as simple as a half dozen Bigfoot standing in shadow would have been quite enough. I’d like to see some Bigfoot in my Bigfoot movie. It’s like going to the zoo, and the curators talk about animals, but the end of the day comes and you haven’t seen any animals. Its like ordering a bacon and egg sandwich, you bite into it, and there’s no egg! This is not a freakin’ radio show! Film is a visual medium. The Forest Bride aspect seems like a side note and doesn’t really do it for me. Perhaps if the movie had changed course earlier and focused on women being kidnapped as the main plot driver it would have worked much better. The camera being dragged quickly along the ground was a cop out to me, a poor excuse for not having a real ending to the film. That ending has been seen a dozen times already in FF films and I feel it’s almost as bad as the It was all a dream ending of 1980’s horror flicks. At the very least it’s a cliché aspect to FF films and it actually ruined my enjoyment of Willow Creek to that point.
An entertaining found footage film about Bigfoot that is only outdone by it’s own cliché ending and its lack of Bigfoot.
I give it 2.2 hooting hairy men out of 5 on the wood knocking scale of rock throwing forest dwellers.
A simple shot of a damn Bigfoot would have made me enjoy the film so much more…