Writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait has tried his hardest to bring fear back to the urban legend of Bigfoot with his latest film but I can’t help thinking that this film Willow Creek (2013) is nothing more than a carbon copy of The Blair Witch Project (1999) just a little too late.
Jim (Bryce Johnson) is an avid fan of the Bigfoot legend ever since he was a kid when he first saw the Patterson-Gimlin film of ’67 which supposedly showed evidence of a real Bigfoot walking through the forest. Now, he’s old enough to explore it on his own and he along with his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) have decided to venture to the original site of the Patterson-Gimlin film in order to see if the legend is real. Goldthwait’s film follows the same distinct pattern of The Blair Witch Project as Jim and Kelly first interview some locals in order to give the film color and a look at the atmosphere of the film. Then the two drive to as close as they can to the Patterson-Gimlin incident before heading out on foot. They make camp and during the night the hear sounds and noises of things they can’t explain (and that the audience never sees). The next day as they try to get back to their car (all the while bickering about why the whole trip was a bad idea and all his fault) they get lost and turned around and end up right where they started. Forced to endure another night in the forest the noises and strange events going on into the night are too much for them and they panic and run.
Well, I’m sure you can guess the rest after that as it follows closely to Blair Witch and a plethora of other found footage films. There are no surprises in this film. As a found footage film it hits all the right marks, maybe too well, as there is nothing new for this film to say. The only real saving grace for the film is that Goldthwait has crafted one of the best Bigfoot films out there. He brings to light all the trappings linked to the legend and crafts a comprehensible and probable myth that doesn’t seem like a shitty Z-horror or Syfy Original monstrosity.
For fans of Bigfoot this is a film to look out for but for horror fans (like myself) who have seen too many found footage films this may seem like a total let down. I will say that Goldthwait is a director who defies expectation and is someone to look out for in the future as he knows how to craft a horror film, he just needs to express it in a different way (or before a fad fades like the found footage film).