Assault of the Sasquatch (2009)

Author: Brett H.
Submitted by: Brett H.   Date : 2010-12-03 15:55

Directed by: Andrew Gernhard
Written by: John Doolan
Starring: Kevin Shea, Greg Nutcher, Andrea Saenz, Sarah J. Ahearn, M. Kelley & Shawn C. Phillips

Reviewed by: Brett H.

ďThat is not a bear!Ē
ďSure as shit ainít, but Iíll guarantee Iíll get a helluva lot more for that than I can any fuckiní bear!Ē

How much is a living, breathing sasquatch worth? Well, according to a character in Assault of the Sasquatch, a million dollars. The legend of Bigfoot has intrigued me for decades as I followed the myth through dozens of TV shows and films in my childhood. There was always a part of me that wondered if the thing walking through the woods in grainy, super 8 or underlit footage from campers, hunters and rednecks throughout the years was legitimate. In these days of cameras in every cell phone and overwhelming advances in technology, it makes me chuckle that I ever could believe that maybe, just maybe, such a creature could lurk somewhere in the deepest of woods. While my belief wanes more and more each day, I still enjoy a good sasquatch film (wait - how many good sasquatch films are there?) and today I add another one to the very hairy list courtesy of Synthetic Cinema.

A band of poachers spread bear traps all over the woods - using pizza as bait - but get more than they bargained for when one redneck stumbles upon a sprung trap clinging to the legendary sasquatch. The leader of the pack, a grizzled, awesome old bastard named Terry Drake (Kevin Shea), eventually comes into possession of the beast and is happy to see his piece of the pie grow when he discovers his former poaching buddy in a pool of blood. The wardens catch 'im though, and it's off to the jailhouse with DrakeÖ and Bigfoot. There, people from all walks of life will soon encounter a creature so big, elusive, strong, and dare I say, smart, that no steel door can contain him. Yes, a window-peeping Bigfoot roams city streets and invades a precinct... and not even the Internet's Don and Murph (Shawn C. Phillips and M.J. Kelly) are safe!

Assault of the Sasquatch caught me by surprise. Not only did all of the characters have adequate, relatable, serious backstories; the movie actually manages to be rather funny. Not once in preparation of viewing did I expect to start the critique portion of the film off on the subjects of characterization or exposition, yet both are pivotal to the interpretation of the film, perhaps more than the sasquatch itself. Youíve got your cop and his daughter who are still suffering a decade after the murder of their loved one, a timid, nice young man vying for said daughterís affection while getting none back, a former stripper turned secretary who slings blades like no female this side of Switchblade Sisters and her platonic relationship with a pot belly, lonely cop. Then thereís the twist that amps up the emotion tenfold and brings forth some decent dramatic scenes. These may be standard elements to any decent drama, but I challenge you to think up the last b-grade sasquatch picture youíve seen that features characters with this much depth Ė or any depth at all.

Unfortunately, there is a sasquatch on the prowl and by in large that will always be the main selling point of the feature. The various backstories donít necessarily flow fluently into this primary storyline and there is the irony of the matter that all these serious individuals end up meeting their end at the hands of a guy in a Bigfoot costume. I suppose a lot of serious folk throughout the years have went out for a nice night in the woods and ended up having their asses snacked on by a bear. I guess this is how their movie would go. If anything, Assault is too good for its britches, if it wasnít, these thoughts would never have crossed my mind. Now, before you look too far into that, itís not a great movie, not good even, but in the horror world there are hundreds of films Iíve picked up and shook my head at, just wishing they were at the level of quality Assault of the Sasquatch brings. Itís just unfortunate that the plot never played out with a poker face; jumping back and forth from horror to exploitation to comedy is difficult to execute and drama proved to be its most impressive trait.

The best performance comes from Kevin Shea, playing the cold-hearted kind of guy that laughs in the eyes of Death, spouts one-liners, looks tough as nails, has survived a sasquatch attack and sounds like George Carlin to boot. Internet cult sensations, Don and Murph are also on hand, while not exactly Max von Sydows by any stretch of the imagination, Iím still shocked that the guys who do vlogs are as good in front of the lens as they are. The guy who plays Murph may well be the only guy on the planet that buys more crappy movies than I do. Onto the DVD, and Synthetic Cinema does a fine job presenting this scope flick anamorphic with good colors that showcase a lot of bloodshed, lost limbs and skullcrushings and slathered with a nice coating of grain when needed. The 5.1 sound is clear and special features abundant, including a commentary, blooper reel, Don & Murph featurette, music video and a trailer. Assault of the Sasquatch isnít the best beast to come out of the woods, but it is funny, gore-drenched and serious all at the same timeÖ itís just too bad this melting pot of cult action didnít amalgamate cohesively. Rent it!

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