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Sasquatch
DVD
Reviewed by Jason Myers, © 2003

Format: Movie
By:   Jonas Quastel (writer/director)
Genre:   Based on a True Story
Released:   March 11, 2003
Review Date:   March 11, 2003
Audience Rating:   R
RevSF Rating:   2/10 (What Is This?)

Fact: I'd rather watch a truly bad movie than a truly forgettable one.

Fact: Sasquatch is truly forgettable. In fact, if I wasn't writing this review, I would have forgotten about it already. Furthermore' I' uh' What was I writing about again?

Um— [looks down from the computer screen and sees a DVD case lying on the table]— oh yes—Sasquatch. Sasquatch isn't that bad. The actors aren't bad. The script isn't bad. The directing isn't bad. The cinematography isn't bad.

In fact, some of that stuff is pretty okay. In Sasquatch, six people go looking in the woods for possible survivors of a plane crash, but what they find instead is— a— a— what'd'ya call that thing again, that thing with the big feet and the hair? Um, right, a Sasquatch.

Lance Henriksen's in this movie. Did I tell you that? You know, the guy who was in Aliens and Millenium and Terminator. Yeah, that guy rules. But when you talk about Lance Henriksen to your friends, you're not going to say, 'You know, that guy who was in Sasquatch.' Because you'll have forgotten all about Sasquatch. In fact, Lance Henriksen probably hopes you'll forget about Sasquatch. Lance himself has probably already forgot about Sasquatch.

'Hey, Lance, weren't you in that movie? It was called, I don't know, Yeti or something?'

'Uh, I don't remember. I made a lotta movies. Can we talk about Aliens now?'

Lance brings gravity and dignity to his role in the movie. In fact, all the actors do at least a serviceable job. There are a few funny lines. There's even an interesting conflict between a woodsman and an famous adventurer/author who turns out to be all talk and no knowhow. Some of the scenery (shot on location in Canada) is lovely. Some of the sound effects are cool. The film-makers have even shown a little restraint and earnestness; they're not trying to make just another blood-soaked monster picture. But it all adds up to nothing much, and it doesn't engage for more than a few seconds at a time.

It doesn't help that the movie is choppy and haphazardly edited. The disorienting camera tricks get old quick. Plus there's the Sasquatch-cam. I swear, the makers of Predator should get royalties every time someone does the UV spectrum/night vision goggles/digitally altered image Monster P.O.V. schtick.

The film-makers are trying for genuine 'what if this happened to me?' atmosfear. But it ends up being atmosforgot about it already. Not to mention that it's hard to have a visceral reaction when the object of danger is basically a big hairy monkey.

I mean, let's face it, the aura of mystery and on-the-fringe-of-reality possibility that once surrounded the Bigfoot creature was pretty much drained away in the time period between Sid and Marty Krofft's Bigfoot and Wildboy and Harry and the Hendersons. One day, perhaps, someone will do a Sasquatch movie that'll make the latent crypto-zoologist in you believe in Bigfoot again, but this is not that movie. In the meantime, if you've got an itch for a genuinely interesting and understated 'creature in the woods' movie, rent last year's Wendigo instead.

DVDetails

There's a commentary track on here. A pretty heavy duty feature for this type of movie. It's got the director, two of the actors, and some guy who was the producer or writer, I can't remember. In any case, the bad news here, though it's not much of a surprise: Lance Henriksen is not one of the actors on the commentary. Lance might have made the commentary track of more note than the movie itself. The closest you get is one of the guys doing a couple of amusing impressions of the gravelly-voiced actor, and a few fun Lance anecdotes.

Aside from the Lance stuff, the most entertaining part of the track is this: the movie used to be called The Untold. The distributors changed the title to Sasquatch, though evidently no one told the director or the cast. So they're watching the movie, and the title comes up: Sasquatch, and the next several minutes are punctuated with comments like, 'Is that what this is called, Sasquatch'' and 'I can't believe this movie's called Sasquatch', accompanied by confused/amused/bemused laughter.

Overall, the commentary track is mediocre, with a few too many lulls of silence, pointless 'this is what's happening in this scene' narrations from the director, and the actors telling the director things like 'I've never seen that shot before. It's cool.'

Aside from the commentary, it's the bare minimum: cast bios, a scant half-dozen still photos, the Sasquatch trailer. And then there are the 'Bonus Trailers.' Bonus trailers! I don't know why they didn't think of this earlier, back in the days of VHS. Right on the box, it should have said, 'Not only do you get this movie on VHS, but you also get something extra: trailers for other movies!' Isn't that cool? Totally bonus, dude! Perhaps one day, movie theater operators will get wise to this, and start charging us for all the bonus entertainment we get from watching the 'coming attractions'.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a trailer-hater. In fact, when I go to the theater, I like a good five movie trailers before the main event. Anything less than three, and I feel cheated. But getting trailers on a DVD is not a bonus. It's expected. Maybe if there were, like, eight trailers, it'd be a bonus. But there are only two, for the movies Infestation and Boa, starring Dean Cain. After a brief preview of those movies, Sasquatch starts looking like a wise entertainment choice.

Probably the most interesting aspect of Sasquatch is that it's based on a true story. How do I know this? Because it says so right on the DVD case. There's even an epilogue at the end of the movie to bring in that documentary vibe. When the credits rolled, the one thing that kept me briefly thinking about the movie was that I wondered about the 'true story' that inspired the movie. But the commentary track doesn't really make reference to it. Nor is there some feature (even a text-only one would have been fine) that gives some details about the 'true story.' Nor does the official website have anything more solid than some random Bigfoot links. Which leads me to suspect that Sasquatch is based on a true story the same way some X-Files episodes are based on a true story. The kind of 'based on a true story' where you read some books about the collected lore of a creature, and then write a fictional piece with fictional events and fictional characters.

Recommended for Bigfoot completists and Lance Henriksen groupies only.

The Movie Itself: 2 out of 10

The DVD Features: 3 out of 10


RevSF Film/DVD Editor Jason Myers is not based on a true story, but he was inspired by actual events.

 
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