The long and inglorious list of Bigfoot movies just got longer and more inglorious with “Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes.” Yet another example of uninspired faux-found-footage horror, this first feature for helmer Corey Grant and his scenarists finds a crew of Los Angeles filmmakers driving north to investigate the purported discovery of a Sasquatch corpse. Terror ensues — or rather, a pretty dull approximation of it. Opening in a few West Coast cities starting Oct. 19, with home-format release Nov. 13, the pic is likely to strike genre fans as an irritating tease in any form.
It’s Sean (Drew Rausch) who had the idea for this little expedition; he’s unloaded his savings on what he hopes will be a lucrative reality-TV exclusive. Accompanying him are skeptical d.p./best friend Darryl (Rich McDonald), producer/ex-girlfriend/New Age psychic Robyn (Ashley Wood) and nerdy sound guy Kevin (Noah Weisberg). In northernmost California they meet, as arranged, with bluff mountain man Carl (Frank Ashmore), who insists they be blindfolded on the drive to his compound in the woods, which is surrounded by an electric fence.
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On their first night, the power goes out, and all cower inside the main cabin as its exterior is seemingly assaulted by hairy predators. Still, the next morning they suspect they’re being hoaxed. Those doubts won’t survive the second night, however.
The big final twist has scant impact, since auds never really get to see any of the evasive attackers, so who cares whether they’re Bigfoot, space aliens or Grandma Moses? The pic instead offers lots of running, screaming and camera shaking, along with characters squabbling with each other — elements that produce more annoyance than suspense, particularly when there’s so little reward for audience patience.
Given the dearth of anything interesting in the realms of narrative, dialogue or character, an enterprise like this can get by only on atmosphere or vivid violence. Unfortunately, these too are absent, and the thesps so mannered that one can’t buy into the mock-doc premise for a moment. The problem few filmmakers seem to grasp with the found-footage concept is that while its conventions may partly excuse a low budget, unconvincing mock-doc reality usually ends up seeming more amateurish and less fun than plain, unapologetic fictive storytelling. “Bigfoot” probably wouldn’t have been a good movie if staged without that overexposed gimmick, but it surely would have come off as less of a time-wasting cheat.
Packaging is adequate. Title in the end credits is simply “The Lost Coast Tapes.”