Derek Winnert

Willow Creek *** (2013, Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson) – Movie Review


A bickering young American couple (Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson) set off up the Creek and find themselves without a paddle in this pacy, eerie and entertaining found-footage horror movie.


The format’s been done to death, and was tired out a decade ago, yet these two pleasing actors and writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait manage to make it fresh and fun again.


The duo are making a documentary on the myth of Bigfoot. Jim (Johnson) believes in him, Kelly (Gilmore) doesn’t. So because Jim wants to prove Bigfoot really exists, he heads out to the Bigfoot country of Willow Creek with his car, a handy-cam and his girlfriend Kelly.


They meet and interview a few local crazies, they see a lot of lovely country, they take a side road and they go into the woods. Haven’t they seen The Blair Witch Project? Then they get lost, they pitch their tent in the middle of nowhere, and of course then something really bad happens.

Cue a brilliant single 18-minute take just of Jim and Kelly terrified and hugging each other in their tent at night while creepy sounds and unexplained presences intrude from outside. This scene’s quite a brio schlep for the actors, but they prove well up to it.


That’s it, all tensely done and crisply dusted in under 80 minutes. It could be 15-20 minutes longer. It could have a more satisfying payoff, or at least one we’d understand. But, then, nothing’s perfect.

After various Film Festival showings in 2013, it was released in the UK on 2 May 2014.

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