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EXISTS (2014)

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Blair Witch Project co-creator and director of the creepy Lovely Molly, Eduardo Sánchez, returns to familiar territory with this found footage horror about five friends who piss off the wrong Sasquatch. Deep woods horror finds brothers Matt (Samuel Davis) and camera happy Brian (Chris Osborn) taking friends Todd (Roger Edwards), Dora (Dora Madison Burge) and Liz (Denise Williamson) on a party weekend up to their uncle’s remote cabin. They neglect to tell everyone that their uncle, apparently, saw something in the woods that frightened him so much, it has kept him from returning to his own cabin for eight years. On the way there, they are having a good time and, since distracted, accidentally hit something on the dirt road leading up to the cabin. By the time they get out of the SUV, whatever it was is gone, but left hair, blood and a lot of damage to their truck. Unsettlingly, now there are also wails of pain emanating from the woods that seem to follow them as they reach their destination. Brian starts to see things in the woods, too and sets up his cameras to catch it, but soon the creature makes itself known and lays siege to the cabin with a bloodthirsty viciousness. What could they have done to enrage this normally peaceful creature of legend and will any of them escape alive?

Eduardo Sánchez, directing from Jamie Nash’s script, delivers a fun and sometimes intense monster movie. It’s not really scary, though he does return to the influences of his 1999 found footage classic and gives us some spooky night-set sequences. Most of the fun comes from the all-out viciousness with which our mythical…and quite intelligent…creature lays into our campers and the brutality of which it takes it’s anger out on them. There is a lot of intensity and ferocity to it’s attacks and the found footage format puts you in the cabin with them as they try to fight it off. Sánchez, taking his film very seriously and giving us some violent and bloody action, helps us forget that this is actually a bit silly, being about an angry Bigfoot. Unlike the phantom entity in Blair Witch Project, our creature is not at all that camera shy and once the film gets going, it shows up quite frequently to create destruction and bloody carnage. Sánchez also overcomes the usual found footage slow start by having things pretty much get moving right away and then, escalate very quickly into a survival horror as the remaining campers try to make their way out of the creature’s domain. It’s a lot of fun, if you let yourself go with it. Not everything works. Sure, you can probably, easily guess what the creature is so angry about, it’s not that hard to figure out. Seeing the creature so frequently, in the second half, also dilutes it’s effectiveness, though, the costume is very well rendered. I probably don’t have to mention that the characters also do some really stupid things to put themselves in harm’s way. Overall though, it was an entertaining 80+ minutes, especially if you just go with it and enjoy it for what it is.

The cast are all fine. They are all fairly convincing and likable, though I had issue with how Edward’s Todd was written. Not the fault of the actor, but this was another example of a Hollywood stereotypical portrayal of a black man who talks in perfect ‘ghetto’ and reacts to everything with a hair-trigger aggression. Todd’s dialog just doesn’t sound natural but forced…more like someone’s idea of how a modern black male should talk…saying things like “Where you at?” and “Wassup!” to a rampaging Sasquatch. It’s awkward and the stereotyping is uncomfortably obvious especially, since none of the other characters speak in this ‘urban’ vernacular. It comes off more as a caricature than a character and the actor deserved better. In some of the quieter moments, Edwards seems quite charming.

So, I enjoyed this found footage Bigfoot horror. There’s a few spooky scenes, but overall it’s fun is derived from watching it’s rampaging Sasquatch take it’s angst out on five campers. The film isn’t perfect, it has its flaws, bu, it’s found footage format works mostly to it’s advantage and who doesn’t enjoy some simple bloody Bigfoot carnage. Worth checking out!

3 (out of 4) Bigfoots… or is it Bigfeets?

exists rating