04th Dec2017

‘Sightings’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Boo Arnold, Rawn Erickson II, Tahila Morgan, Dante Basco, Stephanie Drapeau, Kevin Sizemore, Tiffany Heath | Written and Directed by Dallas Morgan

Sightings-Key-Art

When former Sheriff and skeptic of the paranormal, Tom Mayfield (Boo Arnold), encounters three dead bodies on his Texas ranch, he must enlist the help of his conspiracy-theorist brother-in-law (Rawn Erickson II), a local surveillance expert (Dante Basco), and a renowned cryptozoologist (Stephanie Drapeau), in order to uncover who or what is behind these mysterious events. While being pursued by the local detective (Kevin Sizemore) as a lead suspect for these deaths, Tom is forced to reconsider his preconceived ideas of what lies beyond our planet. Ultimately, he must mend the estranged relationship with his daughter (Tahlia Morgan) and come to grips with the truth of his missing wife (Tiffany Heath).

We’re getting yet another Bigfoot movie? Well, yes… and no.

Combining the legend of Bigfoot with the long-held belief in aliens and UFOs, Sightings is very much in the vein of those old 70s Bigfoot movies: there’s the odd glimpse of the monster but in reality the film is about the people involved rather than the titular sasquatch. In this case it’s probably because the budget didnt’t stretch to the effects work needed to show the creature properly, but I’d like to think it’s because writer/director Dallas Morgan wanted his audience to use their imagination – after all this Bigfoot, it turns out, is also an alien from another planet and showing too much would spoil the mystique!

Thankfully the oh-so-human cast are led by Boo Arnold, whose portrayal of former Sheriff and father turned murder suspect is the heart of this film and who gives such an honest performance that it adds a real depth to the sense of loss Tom feels over the disappearance of his wife and his over-protectiveness of his daughter – who it turns out has a blood type that attracts the monster and puts her life in serious danger…

Like a lot of low-budget DTV cinema, Sightings relies less and flashy visuals and more on it’s story and even moreso this film, which cannot even afford to show too much monster, or even the alien invasion (beyond a few flashing lights), lives and dies by the audiences connection to the characters within the story. And thankfully it’s not just Arnold whose performance screams authenticity – the entire cast, even working with a somewhat clunky script that relies too much on conspiracy rants and exposition, proffer a sense of realism and honesty. And yes, this is a Bigfoot extra-terrestrial movie we’re talking about here!

Somewhat quaint, somewhat family friendly, Sightings is a strange beast (and no, I’m NOT taling about Bigfoot). It’s play outs like a family-friendly drama, something that you’d typically dub a “Hallmark” or “Lifetime” movie, yet it is – at its heart – a sci-fi horror replete with scares, blood and giant hairy monster feet. Which, to be fair, is very similar to the way the old-school Bigfoot movies worked (which is why a number of those 70s monster movies were always rated PG). Ignore the terrible, unrelated artwork and the ridiculous tagline that screams “Jaws meets Stranger Things” and just enjoy the film for what it is: a slice of B-movie Americana that maintains a long-running tradition of sasquatch scares and family drama.

Sightings is available on VOD now from High Octane Pictures.

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