10th Apr2016

‘Stomping Ground’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Thad Bateman, Jeramy Blackford, John Bobek, Joseph Allen Cavin, Huntington Daly, Tarah DeSpain, Justin Giddings, Michael Lee Kimel, Theresa Tilly, Sarah Simmons Turner, Gabe Wood | Written by Dan Riesser, Andrew Genser | Directed by Dan Riesser

stomping-ground-dvd

It would seem that the legend of Bigfoot just won’t go away, every decade seems to bring with a new sighting of the monster and a wealth of new films about the subject. And this decade is no different…

Stomping Ground is the story of Ben and Annie, a young couple on a weekend trip to Annie’s small North Carolina hometown. At the local bar they run into Paul, a charming old friend of Annie’s, and Ben learns something he never knew about his girlfriend: She believes in Bigfoot. In fact, she and her friends used to “hunt” for the creature when they were kids. Before Ben knows it, he’s off on an impromptu Squatchin’ trip deep in the Carolina backwoods. Amidst the Squatch calls, campfire stories and beers, Ben quickly realizes that Paul may have an ulterior motive in bringing Annie to the woods. And something else out here seems to be after her as well.

Independent filmmakers take note: sometimes it pay to hire a decent designer for your poster. Case in point, Stomping Ground. The poster for this film (pictutred above) makes the movie look like a cheesy “friends making a movie with camcorders” horror film, the kind of which you’ll either skip through on fast-forward or stop watching altogether. You know, one that essentially has no redeeming features – and don’t tell me you haven’t experienced the type of film I’m talking about!

However Stomping Ground is NOT such a film. What this film is, is a fun fear flick filled with likeable characters and some good, if cheesy (it seems the 70s Bigfoot look will never go away) monster effects.

Stomping Ground has a real air of believability about it, even when were faced with the prospect of seeing Bigfoot, thanks to the superb script from writer/director Dan Riesser and his co-writer Andrew Genser – both of whom worked together on irreverant TV show The Soup - and the cast who, even though relatively unknown, bring the script and the characters to life in remarkable fashion.

These are characters who you care about, characters who you’d like to be friends with, i.e actual well-rounded characters (which is this antithesis of a LOT of indie horror films). So when said characters come under attack, you actually care what happens to them – something that is also often sadly missing from the genre these days; I know nine time out of ten I’m just wishing for the cast of characters to die. Not so here. Stomping Ground is also remarkably self-referrential; think of this as the Scream of Bigfoot movies – referencing, and playing on, the tropes of the backwoods hillbilly horror genre and films like the Wrong Turn franchise.

A fantastic and funny entry into the Bigfoot movie franchise, Stomping Ground is well-worth seeking out for sasquatch lovers and horror fans alike.

Stomping Ground is out now – in the US – on DVD and VOD from Brinkvision.

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