I’ve always wanted to believe.
Since I was a young kid back in Grade 2 or Grade 3, I always wanted to believe that it was out there. Or he. Or she. Back then, there were these books about myths and creatures and the possibility of what’s out there, and I would devour them. But for me, there were always two legends that captured my imagination. The first was the Loch Ness monster. I still believe Nessy’s out there.
And then there was Sasquatch. Big Foot. The Abominable Snowman. Is it out there? I like to think so. And apparently, so does director Bobcat Goldthwait, the brains behind the excellent found footage film, Willow Creek.
Recently released on Blu-ray, Willow Creek is the story of Jim (Bryce Johnson) and Kelly (Alexie Gilmore), who have travelled to Willow Creek, California, where the infamous footage of Bigfoot was alledgedly filmed decades ago. Jim wants to make a film of his journey, including stories from townsfolk, some who are welcoming, others who aren’t. What they find will not be good.
That’s all I’m giving you in terms of plot, but what I will say is, if you like clever horror that relies mood and atmosphere rather than any sort of gore or violence, you will enjoy Willow Creek. The performances by Johnson and Gilmore are exceptional; in a world where everyone and his AD are making found footage films, Bobcat Goldthwait and his cast seriously deliver the goods. Willow Creek genuinely feels real, which means the eerie factor is raised to significant heights. The last twenty minutes specifically are seriously high tension; I was watching it on a Saturday afternoon with the Queen and Princess playing upstairs and I was still legitimately scared. I really can’t remember the last time that happened with a horror film.
As mentioned, in this day and age, it takes skill to make a found footage film that is actually scary. If you’re looking for gore, you aren’t going to get it, and you may find Willow Creek a letdown. To me, this is much more a psychological horror film than I expected, and is memorable for that very reason.
All these years later, I still want to to believe in Sasquatch. But after seeing Willow Creek, I certainly don’t ever want to meet it in a dark forest.