Mike’s Review: Sasquatch (2021) (SXSW Festival)

“If you go in to the woods go with an open mind.” Famed Bigfoot videographer, Bob Gimlin.

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Directed by Joshua Rofe.  Staring David Holthouse. Produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass.

Unlike many modern day folkloric-crytpo-myths like Slenderman, the Mothman, and the Jersey Devil, Bigfoot cuts a figure like no other. A legend that predates European manifest destiny and one that’s weirdly only gotten stronger since its “In Search Of…” salad days in the 1970s. The legend is hokey, timeless, kitsch-filled, and (to some) very real. To horror enthusiasts it’s spawned piles of also-rans and incomplete tales of Sasquatch’s true motives and legitimacy — that is until now. 

ATMOSfx! Woo!
Bigfoot’s feet.

Sasquatch, a three-part true crime documentary series that puts ol’ Bigfoot smack dab in the middle of murder mystery on pot farm set in the most remote stretch of northwest California. The series follows gonzo journalist David Holthouse as he attempts to piece together somewhat hazy recollections of a stormy night in the fall of 1993. At the time Holthouse was visiting a friend working on a pot farm in the very lucrative and lush geographic area known as the Emerald Triangle in Northern California when one of the pot farm’s employees reported the killing of three farm workers. Was it a rival farm? The DEA? Hells Angels? Bigfoot?

Holthouse deftly peels back the layers of the wild and colorful symbiosis that exists in the Emerald Triangle by interviewing off the grid hippies (AKA Back to the Landers), bigfoot tour guides, county sheriffs, anthropologists, and pot farmers. Each has a story to tell and each story is wildly more intriguing than the last. Because of the fluid nature of the film that mixes phone conversations, animated reenactment sequences, and interviews, its not until Bob Gimlin (videographer from the famed 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage) sits down to chat that Sasquatch takes on a very real and terrifying tone. 

Throughout, director Joshua Rofe, employees fairly standard, but ominous, stinger sounds and eerie imagery from the dark and foreboding lands in these remote and mystical outposts. While the underpinnings of Sasquatch are unnerving, it’s the self-assured and convincing nature of the interviewees that perfectly capture the horror show. When retired police officer Jim Murphy delivers his tale of terror, the goofy and flaky nature of the Patterson-Gimlin footage transforms Sasquatch in to a truly ominous creature who’s not to be trifled with on his home court. 

David Holthouse and Director Joshua Rofe.

Proving that reality is far more gruesome and grizzly than fictionalized accounts of Bigfoot and its exploits, Saquatch sets the stage for the perfect melange of hippies, magical thinking, crooked business practices, and a reality that may or may not be real. Produced by Mark and Jay Duplass who have dabbled in the world of horror with Creep and Creep 2, Sasquatch is the perfect telling of a tale that’s been told too many times. Breathing life in to folklore is always a challenging proposition, and when a folkloric tale is given new context and meaning it has the potential to re-craft the tale in a way that helps to blur the already blurry Bigfoot legacy. 

Sasquatch premieres on Hulu on April 20, 2021. 

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