Movie Review: Bobcat Goldthwait’s ‘Willow Creek’

Bobcat Goldthwait Willow Creek Review

I’m not the biggest fan of found footage movies. In fact, I hate them. The last one, Into the Storm, was so awful, I told myself that I’d never see another one again.

But, then I found out that Bobcat Goldthwait had directed one and I went back on that statement. Goldthwait, I think, is a truly underrated writer/director so if anyone can redeem this sorry genre (is it a genre now?), he’s the guy to do it.

Jim and Kelly (Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson, who previously worked with Goldthwait on God Bless America) take off on a quest to Willow Creek to try and retrace the steps of that famous footage from 1967 that supposedly showed the only known footage of Bigfoot.

Jim brings along his video camera and videotapes the whole deal, recording intro’s of his documentary, interviews and everything in between. Kelly doesn’t believe in the myth but she tags along because that’s what people do in horror movies.

The first part, like all found footage movies, is all set-up and wait. Most of it, unlike all found footage movies, is really entertaining; thanks to Goldthwait’s writing and humor and his two actors. Gilmore and Johnson are great. This genre can make even the best actors look horrible (Hello, Dane DeHaan in Chronicle), but not here. The two make every scene interesting and real. We find out a lot of their backstory (she’s an actress who didn’t get that douche commercial she went out for) but it never feels like it’s forced. It’s just feels like we’re watching a conversation.

Things start to get downright great (for us, not them) when the two pitch their tent and settle in for the night. Goldthwait placed them in a tiny, cramped tent. They start to hear noises, things are being thrown at the tent and it’s damn scary. And it’s all filmed in one, long take. I’m talking like 20 minutes. It’s terrifying and yet fascinating to watch. Again, these two actors are so on top of their game that, at times, they literally don’t say anything for minutes at a time. They are just staring and you cannot take your eyes off them.

If you haven’t watched any of Goldthwait’s previous films (World’s Greatest Dad, God Bless America) definitely check them out. He’s on top of his game and he’s always making interesting choices is his work, Willow Creek included.

If there is one negative to the film, it’s that the interviews Bryce does in the beginning of the film with the townsfolk of Willow Creek get a bit tedious. But once that’s over, get ready to sit on the edge of your seat.

Writer/Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Cast: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson

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