Director: John Portanova
Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Jason Vail, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, David Saucedo, D’Angelo Midili
“So Sergio freaked out and shot a bush? Who hasn’t?”
Dysfunctional father and son duo Roger and Michael Crew (Jason Vail and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte) are forced to move to a not-quite-fit for human habitation cabin in the middle of the woods. Dad Roger immediately invites his drinking buddy Sergio (David Saucedo) and brother-in-law Will (D’Angelo Midili) up for the weekend. Primarily as an excuse to drink and do drugs with Sergio and go shoot woodland animals. What they didn’t expect was a family of Sasquatch trying to defend their territory against loggers? Presumably. It’s not terribly well explained but doesn’t really matter.
And who really expects Sasquatches anyway? The hapless group find their numbers whittled down and at last make a stand back at the cabin with fellow hapless Squatch survivor Bauman (Bill Oberst Jr.). Though they face more danger from their fellow man than a gang of kidnapping Sasquatch.
Valley (it’s actually a mountain) of the Sasquatch is pretty good. Though the majority of the film is spent on the saga of Roger and Michael as they bicker and Roger lets his horrible friend Sergio constantly insult his son Michael. Slowly the circumstances of Rog and Mike’s dire straits are revealed during a hunting trip gone wrong. The Sasquatches of which there are supposedly three–but there is only one Squatch playing all three– arrive an hour into the film. When they do show up it’s, well, spectacular is overstating it, but it’s darn fun. The Squatch himself is a tall actor in a fur suit with an unfortunately immobile mask on. The fact that all the Squatches look alike is confusing, but ultimately doesn’t matter. They attack and our hapless heroes have to make a run for it.
The motivation for the Squatches is chalked up to loggers. Though why they kidnap some people and murder others is never brought up or explained. They also seem to be gentle creatures at heart, despite the violence they display they seem to just be repaying getting shot at a lot.
Across the board he acting is great with only one exception. Vail does a great job of being surly functional alcoholic dad. Joris-Peyrafritte stands out as the vulnerable and put upon son Michael. Saucedo is good at being horrible. Sergio is loathsome to the core, a cowardly bully who talks to Michael in a way no one should even talk to a dog. Midili as uncle Will is good, but some of his lines come out with a weird delivery. Still, uncle Will is one of only two likeable characters in the entire movie. Bill Oberst Jr. has a few good scenes but isn’t in it as much as could be hoped for. He opens the film then comes back toward the end to take part in the climax.
The cinematography warrants special mention. The scenery is beautiful. Full of green trees, meadows of flowers and towering pines. The shots get trickier inside the dismal cabin, for starters it’s ugly. It’s also hard to get an idea of the layout of the cabin and the rooms are tiny, making for one of the worst knife fights in the history of cinema. The director also chose to shoot the scenes at night which made the forest a pressing wall of trees from which anything might emerge at any time. Much preferable to shooting day-for-night. The darkness also hides the Squatch’s face which was a good choice given that the actor couldn’t emote through the rubber mask.
Recommended to Sasquatch aficionados who like a side helping of family drama and anyone who likes pretty scenery.
Kudos for: An arm for an arm.
Lesson learned: Camping sucks.