If you were ever wondering when the time might arrive that actually uses Big Foot as a main horror element AND succeeds in being a kick ass horror film, then that time has come. “Exists” is a 2014 horror film directed by Eduardo Sánchez (Blair witch, Altered) that dares the ground yet again of using cam footage for its principle presentation. Like the few films that use this format and have come away with accolades, it appears that cam footage does in fact work in the favor of former Blair Witch director.
“Exists” is a scary nervy kind of film that keeps its premise relatively simple. Ok, lets cross that out and go for “extremely” simple. Now, stop me if you heard this introduction……5 friends head out to a cabin in East Texas….things happen…….
So with a cabin-in-the woods premise, a big foot monster at the center, and a movie that uses cam footage as its base, you might be thinking along the lines of….. nothing new here? While that statement is quite true, in this case it just doesn’t matter. “Exists” is really big foot like we’ve never seen him. He’s pissed and he lets us know it right away. All the clique horror elements unite in a glorious parade of…I told you so.
To round out the ensemble group we have Dora (Dora Madison Burge), Elizabeth aka Lizzie (Denise Williamson), Matt (Samuel Davis), Todd (Roger Edwards) and Brian (Chris Osborn). Brian dreams of filming bigfoot on camera in hopes that he “might” become a Youtube star. Though Brian isn’t really entirely serious with this aspiration thinking that it would be cool enough if he filmed his friends and “maybe” even caught footage of something weird in the forest. Brian gets his wish.
Matt has “borrowed” his Uncle Bob’s keys so that the group can have a good time out in the woods (without approval). Fair enough…Matt wasn’t anticipating a reason to regret his decision.
The movie begins on some somber music as we are told about 3000 cases of big foot sightings since 1967. Shortly after, our group arrives at their “Evil dead” looking cabin to grab some summer-fun-time. This includes swimming, fooling around, and bike jumping into the lake (forgot the name for that, ugh)
We discover that Uncle Bob has never returned to the cabin since leaving long ago. The reason was never disclosed to the family.
Brian begins to see traces of what he “thinks” is a big foot in the distance. Hoping to grab some shots, he jokes around while filming.
We would expect a long drawn out story that takes its time getting to the monster, however “Exists” quickly ramps things up with a big foot attack on the cabin. This raging man-animal creature busts thru windows, knocks crap around, and generally lets the group know that they are trespassing on his turf. This is where Eduardo Sánchez’s brilliance really shines. Even though we “think we know” how things will play, they are done in ways that keep the tension heightened at all times. This “tension” is Sánchez’s ace in the deck reminding us of what drew us to “Blair Witch” so many years ago. Belief, curiosity, urban legends and chaos…….write it down….it works!
The group is quickly defeated when they try and make a run for it.
The act of “getting help” starts with the destruction of their car by one angry Sasquatch. Various shots of the monster chasing after members of the group presents our big foot not as a sneaky cowardice beast, but as a formidable villainous creature intent on controlling any attempt to leave the forest. Sound cheesy? It’s not, and that is why I walked away a fan.
“Exists” manages to avoid the expected direction of nightly TV shows like “Finding Bigfoot” opting for something quite different and direct. It is a blatant reminder that cam-footage films have not overstayed their welcome, just yet. Perhaps,The scariest big foot movie ever, “Exists” is one tense knuckle ride of a horror film. It’s got my vote for one of the success stories of this year. Go see it.