Hoax (2019)

Director: Matt Allen
Starring: Brian Thompson, Ben Browder, Shoshana Bush, Cheryl Texiera, Adrienna Barbeau. USA. 1h 32m

Matt Allen follows up his Aces and Eights short movie with a debut feature HOAX! which turns out to be a quirky faux mockumentary thriller about an investigation into the existence of Bigfoot, after a spate of teen disappearances in the Colorado mountains.

It’s easy to call it just another Bigfoot movie: but there has been a recent run of lowish-budget features that have broadened the creature featutes horizons by taking things to a new place, especially the fan favourite Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012). Somehow, without many clues or prompts or evidence, it does keep the question open in order to keep the viewers guessing until the very end, but does bigfoot exist or is there an alternative reason why teens are being slaughtered in the hills? And either way why would you want to go out with limited resources to find out?

This isn’t the typical mockumentary/found footage, instead it’s a film about the filming of a documentary, it dips in and out of using real film and being a film so there’s not a lot of shaky cam but there is a shaky plot and some questionable acting. It’s quite adorable to see the movie use references to the original 1950’s bigfoot video footage, then manages to piss all over the findings throughout its own investigation of the same creature.

Don’t get your hopes up after seeing Adrienna Barbeau’s name in the lineup, she’s barely in the film and is just a ploy to sell sell sell, instead the film is lead by Ben Browder who plays a pushy determined individual, Rick Paxton who randomly turns up to a remote town and proposes to start tracking down the killers, then arranges a crack team to embark on this isolated investigation. At times the movie feels like a parody of a horror movie, it rapes to death the typical stereotypes and really maxes out all the tropes. The bimbo is incredibly dumb and out of her comfort zone, the I’ve seen bigfoot hippy tracker is pretty out there and usually high as fuck, while the back up security hard man is well, Brian Thompson an affordable Arnie, in fact there’s a scene where he spots a figure in the woods using infared and it’s literally sliced from Predator (1987).

Paxtons needs switches as the movie unfolds,but as the team are attacked at night, hear strange noises and begin to vanish, the need to prove it’s all a complex hoax becomes more desperate. Eventually after lots of screaming and running through the woods, trash talking, theories, the typical compound fracture what always happens when city folks get lost in the wilderness. They begin to uncover some of the secrets of the forest but this comes so late into the film, you’ll be forgiven if you tap out before releasing these late revelations. But the final act is where’s it’s all happening and if the tone and pace of the movie followed this darker revelation then we’d have ourselves a movie, one that’s would resemble Big Foot Vs Deliverance but that’s something I’d be happier with paying to see.

It has some glimmers of interest, if it was placed in different hands this could have rivaled a lot rival movies, but there is some okay but limited blood and gore, but really nothing makes up for the laborious pace and visibly bad writing which is not easily forgiven.

Rating: 2/10

R: Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012), Bigfoot (2012), Willow Creek (2013) The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

L: Bigfoot Films
5s:Adrienna Barbeau

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