Willow Creek (2013)

Kelly and Jim are a young couple who decide to document their attempt to film Bigfoot. The two travel to the site where the original Bigfoot footage was shot in their quest, and end up in the “Bigfoot capital of the world”, Willow Creek. What follows is eighty minutes of copied and pasted tropes that other found footage films have been doing over and over for the past twenty years.

Willow Creek was written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, who became famous as a comedian/actor in the 80s after a notable role in the Police Academy franchise. He started directing in 1991 with the dark comedy Shakes the Clown (which is going to be released on blu-ray later this summer). Willow Creek is his first horror film, and received a lot of critical acclaim at the time. It currently has an 86% rating from 51 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

willow-creek-01Perhaps the film was over-hyped for me, or perhaps it’s because I already saw The Blair Witch Project, but Willow Creek did not impress me much. The film itself is not bad, and there is nothing wrong with it from a technical stand point. Bryce Johnson and Alexie Gilmore play their roles well, and are instantly likable.  This should make us fear for them when they are set upon in the woods, but I just didn’t care, mainly because it’s all been done before. First, hostile locals try to warn them away. Oh, look! The tent was attacked while they were away! Uh oh, a scary noise at night!

The next thing on the mental check list of found footage tropes would be an uncomfortable close-up that lasts for a few minutes. And yup, that happens too. Pretty much everything The Blair Witch Project did, Willow Creek cribs, with the exception of having an interesting mythology for the characters to work with. This is the one thing Willow Creek sadly did not learn from it’s predecessors. There is not enough substance here to make the film’s story worthwhile.

But hey, at the same time, a lot of people really liked it. At a scant 81 minutes, Willow Creek definitely the right length for what it aspires to do/has to work with.


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