WILLOW CREEK

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.

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