It is my own humble and personal belief that when we finally catch Bigfoot, it will turn out to be Nicolas Cage in a fur coat, wearing a Billy Gibbons mask. I have no evidence to back this claim up, save that it IS highly believable that Cage would be the one behind all of this. Unfortunately, this was not a direction that director Zach Lamplugh wanted to take in his mockumentary, Bigfoot Hunters (also known as 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot (#1 Will Blow Your Mind) in the US). It’s not like Cage would turn down the work, but I digress.
Lampooning clickbait and online video journalism websites like Vice, Bigfoot Hunters is the story of Brian Emond (playing a version of himself). An internet journalist looking for that big story, his editor keeps sending him to do internet fluff pieces such as the Crimea conflicts favourite IPA brewer. After losing out on the chance to become the website’s anchor, he and his camera operator Zach (director Lamplugh) are sent to the Appalachians to interview Jeff (Jeffrey Stephenson), the Cryptid Commander, a YouTuber and Big Foot hunter. Once out in the woods, Brian’s scepticism evaporates as he, Jeff and Zach look ready to break the story of a lifetime if they can make it out of the woods alive.
I started off hating Bigfoot Hunters. Really, I just saw some crappy horror-comedy that’s humour boiled down to “Look what millennial’s do! Look at their digital media! It’s weird! Point and laugh at this generation, people!” This is strange, given the guys that made it were born in the 80s. It’s not helped by Brain wearing frames without any glasses in them. Screw this guy. And screw this film. I was going to write it off. For the first 15 minutes anyway.
Then Jeff entered it, and it started to get funny, and, weirdly for a film about a group of idiots hunting Big Foot, it got emotionally deep. Jeff has become derailed by his hunt for Big Foot. It’s destroyed his relationships. His mother thinks he’s an idiot. His fiancée has left him as this need to find Big Foot has consumed him. He’s done. Seriously, change the lighting gradient. This becomes a stark psychodrama on the nature of obsession that should have ended with Jeff staring down the camera, laughing and sobbing, alone in the woods, covered in blood. Hunting Big Foot is the only thing that keeps him going. And he’s the same as Brian. Brian wants the big scoop; he wants to be a world-changing reporter. He wants his Big Story.
So if it’s got depth, what about the humour? There were a couple of moments that broke through my jaded bitterness and had me laughing out loud. But, a lot of it is done in that stilted, cringe comedy way, which doesn’t suit the film’s tone or style. Neither does the acting. They’re not bad actors; it’s just, well, low maintenance acting. They’re there, but it’s, you know, there, so it’s no big deal.
Bigfoot Hunters is good, not great. It won’t set the world on fire but will make you crack a smile. There are a couple of twists in it I didn’t see coming that were established correctly. I actually ended up caring about the characters, and it made me laugh. The horror/paranormal element takes a back seat to it, and in fairness, I think it would have been better if they cut it out completely.
Bigfoot Hunters is in cinemas now and will be available on Digital starting October 25th.