The legend of Bigfoot has spanned generations as people share stories of the encounters they’ve heard about, and those some have seen first-hand. Whether or not this beast exists in real life is up for debate. But one thing is certain. Bigfoot is a compelling figure for cinematic horror. We’ve seen these films before, but with the release of “Monstrous” I can safely say I haven’t seen the creature used quite like this which had its ups and downs. “Monstrous” is a horror/thriller you can find On Demand & DVD on Aug 11th. It’s directed by Bruce Wemple, and stars Rachel Finninger, Grant Schumacher, and Anna Shields, who also wrote the screenplay.
Overall I would say I had some fun with this little indie flick. It’s a small budget film that certainly made the most of what it had to work with. This is a Bigfoot-themed thriller that follows a woman who goes searching for her missing friend. Her friend was last seen in a small Adirondack town where others have coincidentally gone missing. A town that is also known for its Bigfoot sightings.
Now as a kid who grew up in the PNW, also known as Sasquatch country, I was intrigued by this plot-line. The story did have its flaws, but overall it was enjoyable and maintained my intrigue. I liked the idea of where the concept of the story was going. Some of it’s layering was not as in-depth as I would’ve liked to cement some of the themes. But it still worked for me because I enjoyed the misdirection, and the slow-burn tension the story provided.
Going into this one I honestly expected a more traditional horror flick set in the woods with Bigfoot killing people. Yet it was much more of a moody thriller which did lure me in. I felt this story was poised to offer more than a typical romp in the forest with disposable, paper-thin characters that get killed one by one. The focus was on the changing dynamics between the two lead characters. Two people that were both holding secrets from the other, which did result in appealing mystery.
The two leads, Anna Shields and Rachel Finninger both delivered performances that created interesting characters that had you thinking. It was hard to gauge what there intentions were, and that was something that lured me in to see what would happen and where things would go. Finninger and Shields had a strong, natural chemistry with one other that added intrigue. For me, this effectively sold their chance encounter and that spark between them, but in a very subtle way.
However, on the downside I think there were a bit too many themes playing out in this single narrative. This resulted in none of them feeling completely fleshed out. I certainly enjoyed the unique approach to the story. But the blend of psychological thriller, character drama, and Bigfoot felt a little busy. It’s fine for a film to have moments of ambiguity, or unexplained elements.
However too often in this story it felt underdevelopment with a slight lack of focus as to what kind of story it wanted to tell. The first two-acts of the movie felt like a completely different movie from the final-act for me. Something that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but I think having an element of the story removed would’ve been a positive. It would have allowed more time to progress through the main characters and their mental game of cat-and-mouse with one another. I personally liked the interplay between Shields and Finninger and felt this was the most compelling aspect of the script. I think being able to see their character-arcs explored with more time and detail, without Bigfoot, would have made this a more complete film.
Still, as it was I appreciated the creative ambition. Sometimes that doesn’t always work out as well as you would hope. Yet it’s always better than seeing a film that shows little to no creative inspiration at all. This movie is a bit out-of-the-box. There are some story-development issues. But it also has plenty of interesting elements as well. It’s also the most unique way I’ve ever seen Bigfoot used in a film, so I can appreciate that. If you like what the trailers showcase for this movie give it a shot, support indie film-making and you never know, it may just grab you.