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willow_creekWILLOW CREEK
Written and Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

Starring Bryce Johnson and Alexie Gilmore

As early as the 1950’s, news reports and sightings of something known as “Bigfoot” began to flood the media, and when paranormal events began to creep their way into the mainstream in the 70’s, of course Bigfoot made its presence known. Regardless of its authenticity, the famous Patterson-Gimlin 1967 short film that claims to capture Bigfoot on camera, is a terrifying piece of found footage filmmaking that has somehow seared its imagery into my psyche from when I was a kid and managed to stay with me all this time. Even though the Patterson-Gimlin film was a hoax, it was still used in movies as a starting point for faux-histories and found footage style films, long before the market was over saturated by them.

Writer/Director, Bobcat Goldthwait, (GOD BLESS AMERICA) uses this footage as the catalyst for Jim (Bryce Johnson) and girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore), in his latest, WILLOW CREEK, as they set out to find the location of the famed 1967 film, documenting their journey along the way. Jim is a Bigfoot fanatic and his girlfriend supports his craziness, even when it involves camping out at Bluff Creek, the supposed site of this Bigfoot sighting. The couple arrives in a small town where, of course, they chow down on “Bigfoot burgers” and check out the local Bigfoot museum, which is the only time we see an image from the film Jim has become obsessed with. They interview locals about any mysterious sightings, encounter two bizarre singer-songwriters who serenade them with tales about the hairy creature, and eventually find their way deep into the woods. The two camp out as close to the site as they can get (since it has been flooded out) and during the night they hear terrifying and mysterious sounds of what Jim calls “vocalizations” from the bipedal beast. The next day the two decide to leave their campsite and head back into town, only to get lost in the woods. This is when they realize that something seems to be following them.


Everything in WILLOW CREEK works rather well until the last three minutes of the film, at which point the ending reveals itself as a massive let down. Either Goldthwait didn’t know how to end it all or he just gave up. Johnson and Gilmore are incredibly convincing as a couple, which makes this found footage style thriller work and seem genuinely authentic. Their back and forth banter seems to be natural and both of them seem incredibly comfortable with one another, something we don’t always see in found footage films. The build up to the camping scenes are filled with quite a bit of humor and just enough Bigfoot backstory to give us an idea of just what they are after, but doesn’t oversaturate the audience with history. The frights are effective to elicit a few jumps, and for the most part the scenes which are meant to be tense, actually are. If it wasn’t for the cop-out of an ending, WILLOW CREEK would have been a really solid film, but unfortunately it felt like waiting in line for something, only to find out they sold out just when you got to the counter.

BLU-RAY Features:

Commentary with Writer/Director Bobcat Goldwait, and actors Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson

Deleted Scene

Bryce Johnson’s “The Making of Willow Creek”



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