Jim and his girlfriend Kelly are in Willow Creek, California, to retrace the steps of Bigfoot researchers Patterson and Gimlin, who, in 1967, recorded the most famous film of the legendary monster. Kelly is a skeptic, along for the ride to spend time with her boyfriend between acting gigs. Jim, a believer, hopes to capture footage of his own, so his camera is constantly rolling.
The small town is a mecca to the Bigfoot community; sasquatch statues guard the local businesses, murals of the missing link line the roads, and Bigfoot burgers are the town delicacy. The couple interview locals who range from skeptic to believer and from manic to completely menacing. Some of the stories they hear are of chance encounters with a gentle creature, while others are tales of mysterious eviscerations.
On the day that Jim and Kelly plan on hiking into the woods to look for proof, they are given a simple warning: “It’s not a joke. You shouldn’t go there.” Despite the ominous message and Kelly’s own reservations, they head deep into the forest to set up camp. The events that follow will make them wish they had simply spent the night at the Bigfoot Motel.
Director and two-time IFFBoston alum Bobcat Goldthwait (WORLD’S GREATEST DAD, 2009; GOD BLESS AMERICA, 2012) pumps new life into the found-footage horror genre with WILLOW CREEK. His characters’ genuine humor gives them a humanity that is essential to setting up the scares. The satire is so successful that the film’s audience will have no idea what to do with the tension and fear that comes later—other than to white-knuckle it while sitting in the dark.