WILLOW CREEK

0

SHOULD I? STATUS: Meeeeeh-commend

Available on Amazon Prime – Shudder Add-on Subscription

THE QUICK AND DIRTY DEETS

Suggested Alternate Title: Big Baby After Bigfoot

  • High on: Build-Up, Bad Camping, Bigfoot Lore
  • Scares: 6/10
  • Genre: Found Footage; Urban Legends/Folklore
  • Low-to-Moderate Jump Scares, Low Follow Through, Shorter Length

THOTS

I decided to watch Willow Creek because I’ve been doing a lot of camping lately and I thought it would be fun to watch something more along that theme, instead of sticking to my typical favorite genres (feminism and haunted house movies). It was relatively high rated on Amazon, so I settled in for a little over an hour’s of entertainment without much by way of expectations, excited mostly for the camping.

Here is the essential plot of Willow Creek: Bigfoot believer dude and his non-believer, but loving and tolerant girlfriend, are on an expedition to re-create the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage. As a point in the film’s favor, I learned more about Bigfoot during the 79-minute run time than I had ever cared to know before. All the facts and legends the couple seem hellbent on exploring in Willow Creek prove, upon a little Googling, real, established, “facts” and legends of the Bigfoot myth. That’s – fairly impressive. It’s nice that the film mines truly extant legends and folklore for its premise, and in fact, much of what drives its story arc.

Now here are the downsides of Willow Creek: the two main characters constitute a couple which, at almost every turn of the movie, the audience wonders why they are together. Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson have virtually no on-screen chemistry. Gilmore’s hot, and Johnson’s certainly good-looking, but he comes across like a douche, and she – well, we wonder why she’s with Johnson at all. He’s insistent upon the existence of Bigfoot and angered when she compares the urban legend to, for instance, leprechauns. There’s a single cute couple moment in the entire movie, which is when Johnson’s character proposes to Gilmore in their tent. But wait: during this scene we realize the two don’t even live together, have probably not been dating that long (let’s estimate a year or less, based on contextual remarks), and in short, why the hell does this guy think he wants to marry this girl? Because she tolerates, even enables, his Bigfoot obsession?

To return to the realm of positive commentary, there is more to be said about Willow Creek. The film has a great build-up. There’s a lot of back detail provided, and it’s complete with the typical “locals warning intruders not to intrude” and so on.

Unfortunately, when Gilmore’s character says, at over 30 minutes into the movie, “I have no cell reception…the beginning of every horror movie,” all it made me think was “So why did it take this one thirty minutes to get there?”

All in all – the movie wasn’t bad. But the ending is virtually inexplicably by way of motivation and reason, despite the fact that it may wake you up in the middle of the night with thoughts of dark figures standing by your bed. I wanted more out of Willow Creek, and I started it without even wanting much.

Advertisements

HUSH

2

SHOULD I? STATUS: Would Watch

Available on Netflix

THE QUICK AND DIRTY DEETS

Suggested Alternate Title: Queen Bitch Amazon

  • Girly Groove Rating: 8/10
  • Scares: 7/10
  • Moderate Body Horror, High Low Budget/Good Script/One Set,
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller (sprinkled with some Slasher)

THOTS

I watched Hush after it was heavily recommended by multiple members of a horror junkie group to which I belong, once I discovered it was on Netflix. Hush was released in 2015 and I’m pretty sure I was vaguely aware of its new-ness — I had originally thought it was only available in theaters or Redbox or something, and had kind of ignored comments the first time around under the assumption I wouldn’t be able to watch and review it anytime soon. It was a pleasant surprise to realize the film was already on Netflix. Hush was the first of two I watched that night, so if I keep on track, expect a review of The Lazarus Effect coming up sometime soon too.

My friends were on point.

Speaking on a “feminism” scale, if I must, Hush strikes a solid, subtle passing mark. The “Low Budget/Solid Script” law totally proves itself here: Hush has a cast of 4 confined to one set, a house. There is a pretty strict parallel between restrictions such as these and well-written scripts, you know, the kind that tells you a patient’s backstory in dialogue which actually feels natural, and not like an excuse for a cut to another scene which allows a lazy or bad script-writer to “tell” all sorts of things without actually trying to tell any of them (that’s the producer’s/director’s/scene setter’s job!) the way one has to for the story to be good. As script are, approximately, 90% dialogue, a scriptwriter who tries not to use it seems, at a minimum, lazy.Hush is not this case. It should also be mentioned here that it passes the Bechtel test relatively well, especially considering it’s a cast of 4, 50/50 sex split, and two characters are knocked out of play fairly quickly.

I liked Hush for a couple of reasons besides the solid script. Plotwise, it’s one of the most direct, logical, and believable stories I have watched in horror recently. I think this is also a result of scriptwriter limitation – this film clearly didn’t have the budget for anything CGI, anything pretending to be high-tech, anything even pretending to be expansive. It had to be short, tight, specific, and without any real handwaving. This really worked for Hush on pretty much every level. I encourage other screenwriters, who of course I do not honestly expect to read this blog, to practice similar limitations. It forces the story to work. There’s a point where the movie threatens to get disappointing and, instead, it doesn’t. The choices characters make absolutely follow, which is not only good in and of itself, but makes the movie relatable – maybe it couldn’t happen to you, but it could have happened to someone your friend knows.

I didn’t absolutely love Hush, but that has little to do with the movie, and more with me. It gets a bit gory for my tastes at points – but it’s effective and reasonable, not really gratuitous. While the movie is clever, it isn’t overly so.