Willow Creek (2013)
A young couple ventures into the woods to capture footage of the elusive Bigfoot.
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Excellent but underrated film
A movie that not only functions as a solid scarefest but a razor-sharp satire.
This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.
A great movie, one of the best of this year. There was a bit of confusion at one point in the plot, but nothing serious.
Willow Creek, with its very short running time, doesn't do or say a great deal. It offers some creepy moments and some genuinely chilling scares, but it isn't very exciting and ends on a flat note, and you're not quite sure what just happened, nor do you particularly care. The performances are pretty solid though, and an extended take featuring the two leads in their tent listening to the Blair-Witchian sounds surrounding them is a stand-out moment.
I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm a big fan of the "found-footage" genre. I really enjoy almost every film that is made this way. It just makes sense as a story-telling style to me. For the most part though it seems to me that people are sick of the concept and no longer have any time for it. 'Willow Creek' was made back in 2013 when the genre was basically in its dying stages (films are still made in this style, but less and less frequently). So did 'Willow Creek' breed fresh life into the concept, or was it simply another nail in the coffin? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.The film is very simple in its premise. Basically a documentary is being made about Bigfoot by a young couple and they head to a small town, do some interviews with the locals, and then head into the forest to see if they can find Bigfoot for themselves. Sounds simple? It is. Probably too simple. I understand films like 'The Blair Witch Project' pulled it off with basically exactly that formula, but the problem is that was 20 years ago which implies the genre has gone absolutely nowhere in that time. That's simply not true.The film isn't bad though I wouldn't say. There's a quite incredible 18 minute long one-take scene (according to the IMDb trivia section at least) that is surprisingly well done. The main couple have enough chemistry and charisma to carry things and there is enough creepiness in the atmosphere to keep it interesting. This is a middle of the road horror film.
Acting: 18/20 Writing: 33/40 Directing/Editing/Production/Etc: 38/40Overall: 89/100 B+Review: This is a "found footage" film done right. The actors who play the couple in this film have a great chemistry together, the writing takes an interesting angle on the Bigfoot story and the overall execution finds a great balance between suspense, action and getting into the characters and story.Being apprehensive about yet another Bigfoot story is understandable but this film does a great job at keeping the story interesting and it's more thought-provoking than it may seem on the surface. This movie was also surprisingly impressive when it came to adding a comedic element, which added to the story, as opposed to taking away from it.*Spoiler Alert!*The scene with the Bigfoot mural on the huge wall by the road is not only the funniest scene in this film but one of the funniest scenes in any film. The actor playing Jim did a phenomenal voice improving the Bigfoot accent and expressing the Bigfoot mindset. This scene alone makes the film worth watching.Since the Big Foot Books owner genuinely cares about all of the Bigfoot stuff, his part in the film was very interesting and gave us some real background information about the original Patterson-Gimlin film, which was a really nice touch to the documentary-feel of the film.There are quite a few scenes peppered throughout the film that add a good sense of mystery to the film: should they be more worried about Bigfoot, nature in general or the locals?Neither of the two are very familiar with the woods/nature/uncivilized territory. There are many clues given throughout the film that they are not prepared for the dangers ahead of them whether they encounter a Bigfoot or not. Later, when the couple does start to encounter potential danger, they lean on their video recorder (technology - a societal luxury) for comfort, even though it was superficial as it didn't actually do anything to protect them - showing how much they had become out of tune with nature.The tent-scenes were perfectly suspenseful as they really put you in the moment and what it would feel like to be there; Very organic. (Especially the footsteps - so creepy!) That being said, there was another story going on here, which was brilliantly executed (as many horror films tend to do): Now that we are 50+ years after Feminism started it's plan to make women more "the same" as men and vice-versa, modern women are more vulgar and less nurturing than their recent ancestors and modern men are more acquiescent and less supportive than their recent ancestors. This film does a great job showing why those roles might work fine in cities etc. but not so much out in nature. Problems that are 'manageable' in the context of society become great endeavors in the context of nature.The starring couple had communication problems foreshadowed from the get-go. Kelly is often demeaning and cold towards Jim while Jim has a hard time taking Kelly seriously - especially about her feelings and warnings. As they are trying to make their way out of the woods, their relationship issues - communication, trust, etc. - are exacerbated, and their gender roles prevail in nature. Even though their gender reversal works fine in artificial society, it doesn't transfer in nature; In nature, it hurts them.As products of the modern world, the couple is defenseless against whatever nature has in store for them - whether it was a bear, mountain lion or Bigfoot. While Kelly is more than happy to "get out of dodge", Jim is clearly not happy that they discovered something yet aren't able to get definitive proof of what it was. She really doesn't care about finding any evidence of Bigfoot (which is supposed to be 1 of 2 main reasons they're out there).While hearing the "vocalizations", Kelly wants to turn the light off so maybe "whatever it is will go away" yet Jim doesn't want it to go away. This is indicative of how Kelly never took Jim's Bigfoot endeavors seriously and made the decision to go scouting Bigfoot with him despite not really wanting to find Bigfoot; Just like she entered a relationship with Jim but doesn't really take him seriously as she doesn't really want to marry him.The last time the "whimpering/crying" is heard, we discover that it is the "Missing" woman from the poster, presumably kidnapped by Bigfoot and held as a sex slave since she is naked. Further proving this: when Jim is attacked and taken by Bigfoot, his clothes are immediately torn off and his throat seems to be attacked as he is choking so he cannot call for help. Then we hear Kelly screaming as she is presumably "attacked" and taken. However, we hear her scream "Help me! Help me!", showing her throat wasn't attacked, and then we hear multiple Bigfoot howling - presumably at the joy of their newest replacement for a sex slave. Instead of the falsely labeled "oppressive" gender roles in society, she is now 'sentenced' to a life of actual oppressive gender roles in nature.Sex differences in personality traits are larger in prosperous, healthy, and egalitarian cultures in which women have more opportunities equal with those of men. Nature does not afford women equal opportunities with those of men. (Which is why women should be more grateful for men and the society they created.)*End of Spoiler Alert!*Overall this film was a suspenseful, clever and well-executed Bigfoot story, providing impressive social commentary on the freedom of gender roles in society, as opposed to in nature.
Wow! The last 15 minutes of this are truly horrifying.It's difficult to breath while watching it. And those last few minutes?? ... Well you are going to be haunted by those for quite some time. Don't miss this. And don't let anyone tell you a WORD about it before you watch.