Sasq-Watch! is a comedy about a couple of Bigfoot enthusiast who want nothing more than to capture definitive evidence of the legendary beast.
There is hardly a more robust tale of folklore more influential than that of the notion of a huge hairy creature roaming the deep forests of North America. Bigfoot, in many iterations and before there was even a name for it, has been circulating in legend and myth for centuries, becoming a staple of entertaining stories of sightings and encounters. Movies especially have taken to giving the monster a wide range of occupancy and motivation, from heartwarming family comedies to outright horror. Now comes Sasq-Watch!, an offbeat comedy from Drew Hall, a sort of spoof of the genre that, while certainly entertaining, is a mostly linear film that doesn’t quite do with the material what it could.
Obsessed with Bigfoot since they allegedly witnessed the creature as young boys, geeky brothers Nigel (Paul Brittain) and Oscar (Adam Herschman) have longed to prove the monster’s existence. Well, mostly Nigel. As adults, they’ve managed to gain some funding for an expedition, hoping to win the Damien Hogel Foundation $500,000 prize, won for definitive evidence Bigfoot is real. After much ‘research’, they head to the woods together with an off-center woodland guide named Samson (Neil Flynn) and the reluctant Jamie (Christine Bently), the pretty blonde who gets roped into keeping up the books. Can they find the beast and not only win the prize but restore their reputations?
Filmed like a passive documentary, à la television’s The Office and Parks and Recreations, the movie feels an awful lot like an extended TV episode. The team make it into the woods, followed by Nigel’s haughty competitor Claus (Tim Meadows), a wealthy enthusiast who has spent much of his career stealing from Nigel and gaining fame for it. He arrives with his luxury camping gear and two fitness model-type assistants, also hoping to spot Bigfoot. All the while, characters randomly speak to the camera with bits of personal insights and shots at each other. All of it feels aged, playing into a trend that is more than fifteen years old.
Still, there are some good moments from a few of the Saturday Night Live crew, the entire cast committed to the goofy premise, with characters who speak in outrageously enunciated dialogue and exaggerated mannerisms. Brittain and Herschman make the most of their polar opposite brothers, with Brittain’s Nigel colorfully eccentric in his fly fishing vest and a teal scarf and the ultra dimwitted Oscar barely able to take care of himself. It’s a talky movie with sight gags and fumbling about the core of the story but there are some occasional zingers that land. Bently and Flynn have plenty of screen time but are wedged into archetypal characters, given nothing more to do than be the crazy one and ‘hot’ one.
The issue is that it isn’t very innovative or all that much daring. Think about what Will Ferrell could have done with this in his Anchorman years. Instead, what we get here is a cast carefully drawn and colored inside the lines with no deviation from expectation with simple, baser comedy the calling card of the show. Admittedly, there are some solid chuckles, but with a plot so rife with satirical promise, it doesn’t go very far. For example, Meadows traipsing about in English riding pants and boots is a forced gag that the movie itself stops and makes a point to talk about rather than letting it be what it is. That’s the overall effect of Sasq-Watch!, a film that plays it easy and safe, which for many will be plenty and should provide some fun, however, it’s too bad it couldn’t have been a bit darker and more open to risk.
Now available on DVD and digital from Screen Media Films.
Movie description: Sasq-Watch! is a comedy about a couple of Bigfoot enthusiast who want nothing more than to capture definitive evidence of the legendary beast.
Director(s): Drew Hall
Actor(s): Paul Brittain, Adam Herschman, Christine Bently