I watched it last night for the first time, and I have to say that I was impressed. This is a really good film.
Bobcat Goldtwait is a really good director. I've enjoyed every single one of his films - with the possible exception of God Bless America, which I wasn't too crazy about, but didn't hate. With that being said, I always look forward to his projects. World's Greatest Dad is a near perfect dark comedy - hilarious, bold, and extraordinarily moving. Sleeping Dogs Lie was definitely...well...shocking - but in a good way. And I've always been a fan of Shakes the Clown. I respect this man as a director. He knows what he is doing and his films almost always manage to work for me.
Willow Creek is one of the creepiest films that I've seen this year. It is a fantastic monster movie that will have you on the edge of your seat. I have a very active imagination, so this film did quite a number on me. It is about a couple, Jim and Kelly, who head to the Six Rivers National Forest to visit the site of the Patterson-Gimlin film, which featured haunting footage of a Sasquatch named "Bigfoot". Jim is filming an amateur documentary of the trip, speaking with the locals and enjoying a meal at one of the small diners (which features a "Bigfoot Burger') . Jim is a die-hard believer in Bigfoot, while Kelly is a tad more skeptical. Nevertheless, Jim insists that they head down to Willow Creek to camp for the night.
Once they set up camp, they begin to hear some strange vocalizations and ominous noises outside of their tent. Thus begins a nearly twenty minute unbroken take of the two lovers, trapped in their tent, afraid to move, and at the mercy of whatever lingers outside. It is one of the most intense scenes that I have sat through all year. Nothing can prepare Jim and Kelly for the events of the following day.
I'm not lying when I say that this twenty minute tent sequence is pure genius. Some horror fans will see it and shrug it off. The rest of us who aren't as jaded will allow our imaginations to take over and get the hell scared out of us. This is such a fun film. It is reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project in many ways. In fact, Goldthwait has dubbed the film "The Blair-Squatch Project", which seems fitting enough. However, do not let this deter you from seeing Willow Creek. It's the perfect film to watch in the middle of the night, with the lights out and the volume turned way up.
You have to applaud the two actors, Bryce Johnson and Alexie Gilmore, for their incredibly vulnerable performances here. They know the kind of material that they are working with here, and together, they sell it. Their work here is so authentic, and that's important, because good acting often takes a back seat to cheap thrills in the found footage world.
And the ending...wow. That ending! Bravo, Bobcat! Thanks for the nightmares.
Willow Creek is available on Blu-ray and DVD, and comes highly recommended.
Watch the trailer here.