I’ve always admired the guys behind The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick, probably the two most creative and interesting independent-filmmakers even after their one huge hit. Together they own Haxan Films but they don’t direct together anymore, focusing on their own projects within the company. Eduardo Sánchez is back in the found footage genre with something not-so-new, not after all these years, but manages to make it a lot more exciting and fun than most similar found footage films connected to Bigfoot/Sasquatch/random hairy dude in the forest. The movie is of course the eagerly awaited Exists!
Every regional filmmaker have churned out Bigfoot-movies since the 70’s, so the genre is hardly new - even in combination with found footage. The latest examples in this very specific genre is Willow Creek and Lost Coast Tapes, even if they have a twist on the whole Bigfoot-mythos. Exists is more or less the opposite to Willow Creek, a movie who is the Persona of Bigfoot-movies in comparison. Exists takes the other route, crafting a big, bold, silly, spectacular and violent horror story about a bunch of young people going to one of their uncles cabins, which he have forbidden anyone to go since many years back. One of them have a plan, he want to capture the Sasquatch on video - for real, not any blurry, fake-looking video. He wants to deliver the ultimate proof it exists. The others are just there to fuck, drink and be annoying. On their way there they hit something on the road, but it escapes… and soon that thing, or something else, is on the hunt for them!
The set-ups is quite standard, but like most of the stuff Haxan Films have produced the quality is one step above all the time, focusing on great characters and some truly awesome ideas. Exists might not be the THE scariest film of all time (Blair Witch is still the scariest movie they’ve done!), but it delivers a lot of really cool and intense horror sequences. Much of the movie feels like Night of the Living Dead, with the gang barricading themselves in the cabin, but when the creature finally attacks its with no fucking mercy. Sánchez takes the story outside several times and never have a big open forest seemed so claustrophobic, so unsafe! Sánchez is also behind the worst part of V/H/S/2, the A Ride in the Park segment, a great idea used in a mediocre way. Here he uses the same concept, GoPro’s on a camera, and makes it work perfectly - and it turns out to be my favorite sequence in the whole movie, one of those scenes which seriously stressed me up while watching it. Bravo.
Another cool thing with Exists is how the filmmakers slowly reveals the threat. From the beginning its like every other blurry video on YouTube claiming to be our friend Bigfoot, but slowly, scene by scene, it’s more and more clear - from every angles - sometimes damn scary also, when we just see a dark something slowly walking towards characters (it’s like ghost film, very effectively shot) and in the end we see it, full frontal, full close-up, in crisp HD...and yeah, it looks very cool. It’s the money shot, the ejaculation in a porn flick - it’s the monster HD.
Some might think this takes away from the mystery, but hey...we know what’s out there and we’ve all had our share of blurry footage and ambiguous endings. Exists decides to go the opposite way and that’s very, very cool.
Okay, listen up. I think...no, I’m sure of this: Exists and Willow Creek will make the best double feature ever. They completely works together, but with very different approaches. I would suggest you’d watch Bobcat Goldthwait’s modern classic first, as a long, juicy build-up and then directly watch Eduardo Sánchez latest found footage adventure. I think they both will enhance each other, using the weaknesses of the other movie to be stronger and more powerful.
Because we all know Bigfoot will never die…at least not in front of home video cameras and night vision GoPros.