David D. Ford
David D. Ford
When we hear about Bigfoot, we instantly think of a man in a gorilla suit or the Patterson-Gimlin footage from 1967. It's tough not to think about such a world-famous clip - and all the jokes that have followed. For some, however, the Sasquatch is definitely not something to laugh about, and it's from this train of thought, "Man Vs. Bigfoot" takes its queues. David D. Ford presents an adventure, thriller hybrid that takes the source material and does what it can to make the Bigfoot a real and dangerous opponent - all while keeping the more adult-oriented aspects of the genre at a family-friendly level. For a low-budget independent film, getting "Man Vs. Bigfoot" right must have been quite the challenge - but it all paid off in the end. I promise.
In the film, we meet Jack; an ex-army Ranger turned cop who, from a little of this and a little of that, is suffering from what appears to be PTSD and has taken a sabbatical. Putting yourself back together is grueling work - and although Jack wants to return to work, he hasn't set a date. Shortly after, we meet Jack's brother Aaron who is about to embark on a trail adventure, and with gear in tow, he's dropped off by his wife. The first twenty or so minutes of the film follow Aaron as he's being pursued by... something. With his mind made up, Aaron takes a stand against whatever has been stalking him... and after recording a video message to his wife with his phone, leaves it recording as he confronts his tormentor.
Shortly after, the police are called in to look for Aaron, and a search is conducted to no avail. Aaron's campsite and belongings are found, including his phone, but he is gone. Jack decides to go it alone in the hopes of finding out just what happened. Along the way, he encounters Don Bighorse, a man who grew up in the woods and knows the real deal behind the Bigfoot. He tells of a beast that has recently lost one of its kind and because of that - is on a rampage. Jack, skeptical, thanks Don and goes on his way. Now, I'm not going to spoil any more of the film, but I'll leave you with this. The overarching plot from "Man Vs. Bigfoot" centers on one theme. Family. Although this is a film about Bigfoot, it's not just about the hairy beast we've all become used to reading about. Also worth noting? For a micro-budget indie film, Ford's movie was pretty darn good... that's about as simple as I can say it.
Technically, I was more than a little surprised and happy with how "Man Vs. Bigfoot" turned out. I've seen some great low-budget movies over the years, but it still puts a smile on my face when they look and sound as good as this one. Sure, some micro-budget hallmarks still exist, but for the most part, Ford's film looks and sounds much larger than its indie nature suggests. Also going for it is the great story penned by David D. Ford - that marries modern issues such as PTSD with some good old-fashioned family values- and it does it all with style.
Now let's talk about the elephant in the room. Bigfoot. I know what you're thinking. Person in an ape suit, right? You can't think Yeti without imagining at least a little cheesiness - again, right? Well, reader, "Man Vs. Bigfoot" won't disappoint those looking for a classic depiction of everyone's favorite hairy creature. Bigfoot is just as you remember it. Big and hairy through and through. But, at the same time, there are some excellent practical effects going on here, and although the Sasquatch does look exactly how you think it should, it's also done very well, especially for a low-budget flick. I'm not sure how else to describe it other than ask you to check it out for yourself.
When it's all said and done, "Man Vs. Bigfoot" is a well-rounded, well-acted movie that happens to be a little more than your standard cat and mouse Bigfoot film. Ford's film will pack one hell of a punch for anyone going in expecting yet another micro-budget cell-phone/found footage style indie. I had a good time, and at the end of the day, for me? That's all that mattered. Four stars.