MOTELx 2013 Review: SHOOTING BIGFOOT Pulls Off Funny And Scary In Doc Form
British filmmaker Morgan Matthews, known for harsh, unbiased BBC documentaries, begins with his childhood fascination with monsters and their mystical hold over us and travels to the American South looking to confront his scepticism and find - if not the Bigfoot itself - those who perpetuate such a myth. The "Bigfoot hunters", if you will.
And there are plenty of those: first there's Wayne and Dallas (those are their actual names), two loveable hillbillies who adopt a do-it-yourself attitude to the whole Bigfoot-hunting enterprise and also give out a certain vibe of an old, grumpy married couple; then there's Rick Dyer, whose attempt at scientifically proving Bigfoot's existence by buying a Sasquatch mask on-line and filling a bathtub with dead animal parts had given him national notoriety some years earlier; last but not least, Tom Biscardi and his team of expert trackers, a celebrity of sorts in the industry with more than 30 years dedicated to the search of this magical creature.
Matthews accompanies Wayne and Dallas while they bicker over hot-dogs, make random, loud animal noises and gather "research." He also joins Biscardi on his ultimate expedition and actually camps out with Dyer - arguably the most disturbed of the lot, complete with the obvious taste for guns - in the middle of the woods for days. The "hunt" takes place on these three fronts, as all sides desperately search for a way to prove the Bigfoot's existence and claim fame and glory. Naturally, Matthews is more interested in studying what the hell is going on in these people's heads and what exactly makes them dedicate their entire lives to a goose chase. There's humour, as you'd expect from such a peculiar, colourful group of people, but eventually things do enter darker territory as we watch the filmmaker get sucked in into this bizarre, slightly disturbing world.
As with the aforementioned Room 237, Shooting Bigfoot isn't so much about a bunch of lunatics who actually believe there's a giant ape-like creature roaming the woods that likes peanut butter and throws rocks at people, but about the lengths they'll go to believe in... something. And how that something might just make them get out of bed in the morning. The film is funny and quirky - there's even a whimsical, animated title sequence - but also scary in the sense that it makes you confront certain things like ignorance and how a hoax can get out of hand. In a strange way, you do end up somehow connecting with these loony characters, maybe not to the extent of believing a word they're saying, but at least to the extent to where you're not gleefully laughing at them. As for the Bigfoot, I'm not saying it'll make you believe it exists, 'cause it won't, but it'd be pretty awesome if it did.
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