Willow Creek starts out in the gritty, personal, hand-held cam mode we’ve come to all enjoy in recent times, but it’s not terrible. It fits the mood they’re looking to build. If you’re a Bigfoot enthusiast, you will love the opening act as the two folks, Jim (Bryce Johnson) and his skeptical girlfriend, Kelly (Alexie Gilmore), head to Willow Creek, CA, to do a documentary on the mythical beast.
As the film moves along, it seems the interviews and such carry on way too long and you have to read the outline to remind yourself what we’re watching.
But then the “fun” begins when our intrepid couple heads out of town to the original film site (The Patterson/Gimlin 1967 film) when they encounter a weird man on a dirt road telling them to turn around, under no uncertain terms. But our filmmakers know another way to their destination. And thus, begins the true journey of the movie.
They find their first camp site, spend the night, then find themselves a river to swim in. But while they’re gone, something tears up their camp. And the fun begins from there.
The moments designed to build tension work well as our we experience our filmmakers sitting up in the middle of the night, clicking on the camera, and asking “Did you hear that?” And then you find yourself straining to hear it too. But also worrying what might now happen to them.
But again, some of the scenes are drawn way out. Until the footsteps and breathing outside their tent. Then you’re crapping your pants with them. And I found myself developing the same goosebumps that the first few Paranormal Acitivity films gave me.
Personally, while events are happening, I seriously question why the hell they had to camp out in nowhere all by themselves.
And then they get irrevocably fu****, I mean lost and they find themselves having a very, very long night. But through it all, he hangs on to the camera. Good boy!
Willow Creek is a confusing yet entertaining movie. It spends an awful lot of time developing acts one and three… and I’m not sure where two comes and goes because there’s a huge amount of time with the opening developments and the scenes that help close out the film.
Yet the stage is set well, and the story is closed out in the appropriate fashion for a horror flick, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.
This film is the first attempt at creating a horror flick, and was written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. Yes, the comedian.
What is confusing is the classic horror schemes, peppered with good tension that is lost in long, drawn out moments. Had we had more scenes to tell the story, this could have been an exceptional scare, but I was distracted by the tedium of detail.
I enjoyed the film for what it was and if you’re a hardcore Goldthwait fan and like scary movies, I think you’ll find it fun.
But looking around on the web, there’s a huge disparity in opinions about the movie. On Rotten Tomatoes, the professional critic score sits at 88% while over on IMDb, it has a user rating of 37%. It seems to all depend on your perspective.
The blu-ray of Willow Creek was provided for review by Dark Sky Films. There are a few extra features, but nothing earth shattering. A quickie behind-the-scenes moment, and a few other simple extras.