02nd May2013

‘The Bigfoot Tapes’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Stephon Stewart, Davee Youngblood, Shy Pilgreen, Sam Ayers, Don Scribner, Brad S. Clayton, Michael Villar, Joey Napoli, Johnnie Colter | Written and Directed by Stephon Stewart

The second Bigfoot flick to hit DVD in the past six months, The Bigfoot Tapes is a found-footage film that sees a documentary filmmaker, his brother and his girlfriend investigating Bigfoot sightings in Siskiyou County after hearing a 911 call from a man claiming his dog was eaten by Bigfoot. Setting out to interview the man who had the encounter with Bigfoot, what follows is captured footage of a series of distressing, unfortunate events proving the existence of this terrifying creature’s existence.

Writer/actor/director Stephon Stewart brings us yet another found-footage horror flick. However unlike a lot of its contemporaries this film follows a tried and tested documentary-style formula, bringing us what can only be described as “The Blair Bigfoot Project.” Now I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, but I’m growing tired of found-footage movies. Not so much the use of the format but it’s misuse – filmmakers trying to create scares with nothing but a shaky camera and bad actors. When found-footage films are bad, they’re usually REALLY bad. However the opposite can also be true – see The Blair Witch Project and V/H/S. The Bigfoot Tapes sits somewhere in between…

It takes The Bigfoot Tapes over 35 minutes to actually get to the good stuff, and the actual horror in this horror film, but Stewart uses that time to get us familiar with his cast (himself included), so that when things do start to happen you actually feel more for those involved. When the film does ramp up there’s plenty of found-footage cliches: night vision, spot-lit footage, screaming, shouting, running – you know, all the usual tropes. However director Stephon Stewart only gives us glimpses of things, holding just enough back to keep your attention. For once I found myself intrigued by what was going on rather than repulsed by all the shaky-cam action!

But then something happens. Something big (pardon the pun). Right around the 70 minute mark The Bigfoot Tapes changes into an altogether different film, from monster movies to 70s backwoods thriller, proving once again that Bigfoot is not the only monster in the woods; and with an ending that, much like The Blair Witch Project, will leave audiences asking “what the f__k?!”

A two-star movie raised up a point by the freakish ending, The Bigfoot Tapes is released on DVD on May 6th by Signature Entertainment.

*** 3/5

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