Saturday, January 24, 2015

EXISTS (2014)

EXISTS (2014)
Label: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 3rd 2015 

Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: R
Duration: 102 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Windscreen (1.78;1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles

Cast: Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis, Brian Steele
Director: Eduardo Sanchez

Three dudes and their lady friends drive to a cabin out in rural East Texas for a weekend of debauchery at a cabin in the woods, where else? The cabin belongs to one of the dudes uncles who previously warned them to stay away for reasons unknown, but if everyone listened to warnings we would not have many scary movies. The group are armed to the teeth with an arsenal of GoPro cameras, smart devices and video equipment to capture all the righteous partying out at the cabin. Once they arrive we're treated to all the GoPro Mountain Dew fueled dude-type shenanigans you've come to expect from shows like MTV's Ridiculousness and legions of millennial YouTubers. 

While there they begin to hear the bloodcurdling cries from an animal somewhere in the woods Chris, the stoner of the group, decides it was be Bigfoot and sets about documenting his amateur crypto-quest to find the hairy beast. He doesn't have to wait very long, the damn thing makes it's presence known on his first trip into the forest. Spooked by noises Chris returns to the cabin where later that night Bigfoot terrorizes the group, snorting and banging on the walls of the cabin, scaring the bejeezus out of everyone before destroying their only mode of transportation. 

In the morning with few other options one of them volunteers to mountain bike his way to an area where they can get cell phone reception and call for help. With the GoPro equipment strapped to his bike and helmet he makes a run for it. Through the miracle of GoPro we are treated to a pretty tense chase scene through the woods with the agile creature chasing down the mountain biker. Afterward that Sasquatch returns to the cabin in pursuit of the others in an all out night time assault that drives the group into the basement while the Bigfoot tears apart the cabin. I give the filmmaker props for creating some good tension and atmosphere, there are quite a few white knuckle moments throughout. 

Director Eduardo Sanchez (THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT) is mining some familiar ground here with a group of kids out in the woods who find themselves in danger, this time with the Bigfoot thrown into the mix. He certainly doesn't stray from the established tropes of found footage, we have a typical set-up of kids in the woods, the annoying use of night vision, some jittery cam and lots of running and screaming but none of that detracted from my enjoyment, this is just big, dumb Bigfoot fun and I can appreciate that.

I thought the entire cast was decent with stoner Chris being the focus for me, he's just a guy that's easy to like. The script offers plenty of eye-rolling moments of poor judgement and characters making poor decisions but for the most part I was keyed into the movie and on board for a kids go into the woods, kids encounter Sasquatch, kids get dead, run for life type of film.. 

What it does have going for it are some fun set-pieces and the fantastic creature design. I was expecting the creature to be just out of sight for the duration of the film, and it does start off that way but we do actually get up close and personal with the beast.  So much so that the creature does get a few small character moments, nothing too corny, just enough to understand why the creature is targeting the group of kids.

It's been quite a few years since I've stumbled across a decent Bigfoot film, and this one delivers the goods and then some. As a found-footage film this is pretty standard stuff but as a Bigfoot films this is right up there with ABOMINABLE (2006) and the cock-shredding insanity of NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1984), EXIST is a fast-paced beast of a Bigfoot film I can get behind. 
The disc from Lionsgate includes an audio commentary from director Eduardo Sánchez and writer Jamie Nash, fifteen minutes of deleted scenes including an alternate opening and ending, a thirty-minute making of featurette and a cool featurette about the design and creation of the Bigfoot creature. There has not been a Blu-ray announced for the film but the DVD does include a UV digital copy and it is available in HD on Amazon instant video to own or rent. 

Special Features

- Audio Commentary by director Eduardo Sánchez and writer Jamie Nash
- Deleted Scenes (15 Minutes)
- 21 Days In The Woods: Behind The Scenes Of "Exists" (30 Minutes)
- Bringing Big Foot To Life (10 Minutes)