Jim (Bryce Johnson) is a Bigfoot fan, and he’s on the search for his own evidence. He convinces his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) to join him on a trip to the location where the most famous Bigfoot evidence was filmed, the Patterson-Gimlin film. After interviewing some locals, and exploring the tourist sites in the area, the couple head into the woods. Ignoring the angry warnings of a man in the forest, Jim and Kelly find a way into the forest, where they begin to experience frightening events one evening while camping.
Writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait mixes fact and fiction to create an interesting, although unoriginal, take on the found footage genre. Goldthwait uses his characters to actually meet and interview real Bigfoot believers, and a few non-believers. Sprinkled throughout the beginning of the film are a few actors, but the first half is made up mainly of actual people who share their encounters with Bigfoot.
After the documentary style of the opening, the film switches gears to have Jim and Kelly in the forest, searching for evidence of Bigfoot while Jim makes his own movie. This builds into an almost 20 minute scene of the couple in their tent, frightened by something unseen that stomps, screams, and smashes at their tent. It’s very tense, and will leave audiences on the edge of their seat, but it’s something we’ve all seen before.
There’s very little difference between Willow Creek, and The Blair Witch Project. In fact, the only thing that is different, is the fact that Willow Creek is about Bigfoot. After Blair Witch, we’ve been overwhelmed with films in the found footage genre, almost all of them being a very poor copy of that first film. This film is actually a very successful take on the sub-genre, but only becomes that because it’s so close to Blair Witch, the film that started it all. It’s hard to take Willow Creek on its own merits, when it’s so much like an altered remake of Blair Witch.
Gilmore and Johnson make for a great couple, and their chemistry is one of the things that elevates the film. The final sequence of the couple in their tent is sure to leave audiences shaking with fear, even if it seems a little too familiar.
Should You Watch Willow Creek?
Probably the most successful take on the found footage film genre. There’s nothing new to be found here, but Bigfoot fans, and anybody looking for a good scare, are going to really enjoy this.