Film Review - Willow Creek - 2013
Format: DVD Language: English Released: 2013
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson, Laura Montagna
I almost passed this film by, even though it only had a price tag of 79 pence, as the words independent and found footage together send a shiver down my spine for all the wrong reasons. However, the director Bobcat Goldthwait, caught my attention. I was genuinely intrigued how Zed from Police Academy (now I’m showing my age!) could write and direct a horror film without it being silly, well as it turned out, very well in fact!
Willow Creek follows Jim (Bryce Johnson) a bigfoot believer and his disbelieving girlfriend, Kelly (Alexie Gilmore), to Willow Creek, the birthplace of the Bigfoot legend. Kelly has reluctantly agreed to go with her 'significant other' and is filming their journey together on her camera. I admit it’s not very original as plots go but it does help to set everything up quickly, allowing us, the viewers, to relate to the characters in one way or another.
Normally this is where these films crash and burn, but thankfully that is not the case with Willow Creek. Director Bobcat Goldthwait 's skills as a filmmaker shine throughout this feature, both from a technical point of view and in the clear understanding of his subject. While I personally have no idea if Goldthwait is a Bigfoot believer or not, he clearly knows his stuff in terms of the folklore that surrounds the legends, this makes for a more intense and interesting film than any other Bigfoot film I have seen.
Added to this, his clear understanding of how a film is made both in theory and in practice, makes for a truly enjoyable film. Right from the start you are fed the American Folklore that has built up around Bigfoot, which from my point of view is great thing. As a non-American, apart from the odd documentary where some questionable ‘experts’ walk around a forest making distressed cow noises and some poor low budget horror films I have no prior knowledge of the Bigfoot Folklore.
This is also helped by some strong performances given by the cast. Bryce Johnson’s Jim, is completely believable as a Bigfoot nut and via his role as presenter to the equally believable Kelly, portrayed by Alexie Gilmore, with her home footage, we are given enough background on the subject to understand the danger, real or imagined, they find themselves in later in the film.
The end result of all this is a gripping, tense and at times frightening horror film that keeps you hooked until the end. A film where no matter what your option on the subject is, you are interested in this couples journey into hell. This is a film where you want to grab your popcorn, turn off the lights and allow yourself to be lost the story.