God Bless America was such a great film that I was certain Bobcat Goldthwait would direct nothing but gold. I hate it when I’m wrong. Willow Creek seemed like it had everything it needed to be wholly entertaining. In particular, the fact that it is a new take on subject that hasn’t been completely played out yet. For those of us who are okay with found footage features, it’s handheld camera quality was not a mountain that had to be overcome, and the fact that it stars fresh faces makes this format an even easier pill to swallow. Unfortunately, the praise stops there. Willow Creek truthfully offered no payoff for the motion sickness I had to endure to watch it. Sadly, the poster is probably the coolest thing about this movie.
The primary problem here is that there was just too much exposition. Sure, some of the lines and situations were funny. The Bigfoot burger and the oddball Bigfoot slavery mural were truly that special brand of kitsch that one would hope to run into if they were going on a trip to camp in Bigfoot country. And the actors were absolutely believable as a couple. They had great chemistry and timing, and the downfalls of Willow Creek are in no way connected to their performances. The problem lies in the fact that we just see entirely too much footage of their attempts to uncover information about, and then their trek to, the legendary site of the”Patterson-Gimlin” filming. Not only that, but some confusing things also happen to our protagonists Kelly and Jim as we slowly watch them NOT go into the woods. I’m still not sure why, as they drove through the woods toward the site, the couple was accosted by an angry hillbilly. What reason could he possibly have to belligerently demand they turn their car around, and go back into town for souvenirs instead of camping. Was he protecting the Bigfoot? Does he serve the Bigfoot? Was his anger unrelated? We will never know.
After at least an hour of rolling shots of blurry grass and trees, viewers will be rewarded with only one tense scene in which Kelly and Jim hear strange noises outside their tent. Unfortunately, I left the room for a bathroom break and missed this scene. I really didn’t think I’d miss anything. I hate to spoil the ending, but I’ll say this much; if you were expecting to see some cool special effects in practice, prepare to have your hopes dashed. If you were hoping to hear strange noises akin to a coyote howl mixed with air raid sirens, you will be pleasantly surprised!
I have not lost hope in Bobcat, but I hope he does a better job next time. Maybe he should just stick to dark comedy?