Shooting Bigfoot Morgan Matthews

Shooting Bigfoot Morgan Matthews
By turns uproariously funny, disturbingly sad and downright exhilarating, Shooting Bigfoot jumps headlong into a strange subculture and emerges as an immensely rewarding entertainment. It finds a group of people so committed to proving the existence of a sasquatch that they will go to unimaginable lengths to discover any shred of evidence. Though it's hard to identify with their methods or their logic at times, they possess such a fevered belief in the idea of giant upright creatures living in the woods that we can't help but want to temporarily step out of the realm of reality with them.

As he follows three separate groups of hunters on trips to places where Bigfoot has supposedly been spotted, director Morgan Matthews' British accent and skepticism naturally lend scenes a fish-out-water comic tilt. In Ohio, he joins Wayne and Dallas, who teach us that the beast apparently prefers the term sasquatch. They try to lure it out of hiding with a can of mackerel when not bellowing primal screams into the forest, occasionally pausing to listen for a reply or point to a dark spot in the trees they think it might be.

Rick Dyer, who we know is a "master tracker" because he has decaled his car with so many stickers stating this, journeys into a stretch of San Antonio woods where a homeless woman had been scared enough to dial 911 after a close call with an unidentified creature. He stakes out alone for days, becoming increasingly irritated with the light from the camera shining on him at night, as if it were exposing his failure.

The most organized of the bunch, Tom Biscardi, has a team of experienced men at his disposal, including a tracker whom he affectionately calls Youngblood and a Navy Seal named Chico. This doesn't make him any more credible, though, having already been associated with Dyer in a 2008 hoax. A blowhard with a short fuse, he's frequently losing his temper and overreacting to the most trivial of discoveries.

Individual scenes and lines are so funny and the characters so exaggerated yet deadpan that you'd be forgiven at times for thinking this was the newest Christopher Guest mockumentary. But then, just when you think the film is about to arrive at the obvious conclusion that these people are all delusional, there is a surprising climax that induces chills.

Whether what happens is legitimate or simply another hoax is sure to be discussed in the days to come but what's undeniable is how effectively it rattles the rational mind and, at least for a moment, makes you wonder. (Minnow Films)