(Editor’s note: This review contains major spoilers.)
The 2013 found-footage horror movie Willow Creek is basically The Blair Witch Project with Bigfoot instead of the witch. Directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, Willow Creek follows couple Jim and Kelly filming their visit to the site of the iconic Patterson-Gimlin video clip that allegedly captured Bigfoot on film in 1967.
Jim is passionate about Bigfoot, and his girlfriend Kelly goes along for the ride to help him chronicle the adventure. They interview locals before finally entering the famous stretch of forest about halfway through the 80-minute movie.
“Babe, this is a dream I’ve had since I was 8 years old,” Jim says.
Jim’s dream is about to become a nightmare as the couple ventures deeper into the woods. Jim and Kelly set up camp and explore the forest, discovering some unknown scat, before returning to their campsite and finding their tent in shambles.
When darkness falls, Willow Creek spends 20 minutes inside the couple’s tent as Jim and Kelly listen to the strange sounds outside like wood knocks, vocalizations, and heavy footsteps. The extended tent sequence shows Jim and Kelly running the gamut of emotions, from romance to disappointment to terror.
When daylight arrives, the spooked couple decides to return to civilization. Disoriented in the woods, Jim and Kelly hear more vocalizations en route to a frantic and frenetic climax.
I enjoyed Willow Creek because I related to Jim’s enthusiasm for Bigfoot. Bryce Johnson and Alexie Gilmore do an outstanding job of portraying Jim and Kelly as a couple in love but without a lot in common.
Like The Blair Witch Project, Willow Creek is 99 percent setup with a quick, chaotic ending. If you’re expecting to see Bigfoot in action, then you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re a fan of found-footage horror, Willow Creek executes it better than most.