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Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Bigfoot Country': Don't make tracks to this one

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I like all things paranormal. I watch "Ghost Hunters," "Ghost Adventures," "Destination Truth" and "Finding Bigfoot."

So when I noticed Lionsgate's "Bigfoot County," a film that depicts a man's quest to produce a documentary about recent sightings of the Wild Man of the Woods in Siskiyou County, I was excited.

I was all over this. The cover looked creepy and the 911 call on which the movie is wrapped around is equal parts fascinating and frightening.

But here comes my first issue with the film. It is set in Siskiyou County, Calif., and the 911 call they use is from Kitsap Peninsula in Washington state. I don't ask for much in movies, and since I love Sci-fi flicks I have no issues suspending my disbelief, but when something has been reported on recently (1990s), it's hard to overlook the inaccuracy.

Basically "Bigfoot County" is another addition to the ever-growing collection of found footage movies. Grab a small crew, toss a camera at them, give them a small budget and let them go to work. I know there is more that goes into these types of films, but the end results is almost always the same -- cool premise, poor execution.

In "Bigfoot County," Stephon (Stephon Stewart) recruits his brother Davee (Davee Youngblood) and his girlfriend Shy (Shy Philgreen) to help him make a documentary about a semi-recent 911 call made about a guys run in with the hairy beast in his yard.

Once in Siskiyou County, the group is met by hostile locals who don't want to talk and clearly want them out of their neck of the woods.

They do find a few who talk about the local legends and one in particular who points them in the direction of the man who made the infamous 911 call. Showing up on the doorstep of his RV, Travis (Sam Ayers) initially greets them with an ax, but eventually allows them to speak with him and offers to take them deep into the woods where a campsite was ransacked by the creature.

Travis leads them far into the woods, and after encountering the campsite and freaking out, flees the wood, leaving the city kids alone. On their first night in the woods, they are visited by a shotgun-wielding man who demands these pesky kids leave his property.

From there, each moment they are in the thick woods they are being following by someone -- or something.

Fire up the Mystery Machine, gang, because we have a mystery on our hands.

The movie builds in suspense as Shy and Davee come up missing and Stephon frantically searches from them. This is perhaps the best 15 minutes of the movie -- and then things get weird.

What began feeling much like an homage to "The Legend of Boggy Creek," quickly turns and we are reminded of a certain infamous scene from "Deliverance."

I love "Deliverance," but "Bigfoot Country's" third act payoff wasn't exactly the hairy action I was expecting.

"Bigfoot County" is a clear representation of the good ol' bait and switch. They lured me in with hopes of seeing some scary Bigfoot action and instead gave me about a hour of profanity-laced scenes of screaming and no big payoff.

The standouts in the cast are Ayers and Don Scribner, who plays the movie's "villain." Ayers really draws you in and makes you uneasy as you never know if he's a good guy or a bad guy. Scribner, on the other hand, leaves little to question as to which side he's on.

Final Cut: With so much potential to scare you socks off, "Bigfoot County" misses the boat and delivers nothing more than a few moments of suspense and a story that is mostly forgettable. I think Stewart possesses skill both as an actor and a filmmaker, but it's not on full display in this flick.

2 out of 5 stars

Bigfoot Country

Starring: Stephon Stewart, Davee Youngblood, Shy Pilgreen, Sam Ayers, Don Scribner

Writer: Stephon Stewart

Director: Stephon Stewart

Run time: 82 minutes

MPAA: R for pervasive language and a brief sexual assault