Saturday, December 27, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Exists (2014)


Exists  is the new film from the gentleman who brought us the unsettling Lovely Molly as well as being half of the duo responsible for a little film called The Blair Witch Project. Is it as great as his previous efforts? Well...grab yourself a Jack Link's Beef Jerky and let's talk Bigfoot horror!

So...Exists  is one of those films that will, no doubt, divide audiences right down the middle of Mediocrity Street. You're either gonna really not care for this film...or not mind watching it. Honestly, it has so much good in it that it cannot be discounted as a bad film. However, it's ludicrous enough to not be taken seriously. I suppose one could argue the fact that the antagonist could be replaced with anything and you might get the same result. I dunno...maybe it's just the whole Bigfoot thing that has me rolling my eyes.

Eduardo Sanchez is one of those filmmakers who really knows what he's doing, in terms of scaring the living fuck out of you. Trust me...my own living fuck jumped out of me a couple of times when I first watched his last feature, Lovely Molly. Just the way he paces his films and spreads dread all throughout is enough to unnerve the seasoned horror enthusiast. His stint in last year's V/H/S/2  was among the best in that anthology and his impeccable pacing and direction can certainly be felt in his latest effort...Exists.


Thankfully, this is a film that pretty much gets going pretty quickly and hardly ever lets up. The basic premise concerns a group of young friends heading out to someone's uncle's cabin in the woods that is mostly deserted for good reason. As young friends tend to do...the group heads out there without a care in the world and no real concern for their own well being. Especially after it is revealed thru a video that cameraman Brian (Chris Osborn) has been recording that they hit some kind of Sasquatch-looking motherfucker. Normally, anyone with any inkling of common sense would be out of there in no time flat. These idiots only care about filming a Mountain Dew-type of extreme video...so, they continue their trek. So, here it is, folks. The moment where you realize: Am I on board with this idiocy? Or...nah...I'm just gonna bail now. Well, because I rented this one on iTunes...I chose to stay the course. So...yadda yadda...they record their every move...because that's what people do...and Bigfoot shows up to the party. That's pretty much the main beat to the story. Not much, I realize. However, what Sanchez does with this little thread is quite extraordinary. He actually makes a found footage film about Bigfoot...pretty goddamn eerie.

Admittedly, my biggest gripe of the entire experience was being desensitized by those hilarious Jack Link's Beef Jerky "Messin' with Sasquatch" commercials beforehand...to the point where that particular monster doesn't even scare me anymore. So, I was smirking and chuckling throughout most of the running time. There's even one scene where Bigfoot jumps into the camera from up above in such a goofy way that it sort of took me out of the film quite a bit. Even when you see the creature's full silhouette for the very first time...I couldn't help but let a laugh escape. Probably not fair to the film...but, to his credit...Sanchez's directing is the real star of this film. Whenever the Sasquatch wasn't onscreen, the film truly is a tension-filled thrill ride. Sanchez really should be applauded for creating a genuinely creepy film, despite the Bigfoot thing.


The cast is fine for what is asked of them and the female leads, in particular, are nice to look at...especially Elizabeth (lovely ginger Denise Williamson) and her little tighty shorty shorts. Madison Burge as Dora, is perhaps the stand out of the film. She really displays a broad range of emotion with her character to great effect which creates a connection with the viewer. Roger Edwards was great as Todd, too. It's not the cast's fault that their characters are forced to make unfortunate choices.

A note on the found footage shaky cam stuff. I hated it here. I mean, I get that they're utilizing every possible camera technique in the book, including those annoying helmet cameras. And I realize that it is sort of meant to feel raw and found footage-y...but, come on, man. What is the damn deal with every victim in every found footage movie persisting on holding the camera while they are in peril?! Logic would suggest that if a huge Sasquatch is chasing after you...you would drop your shit and get out of dodge lickity split. A little realism would go a long way here...even in a film with a Bigfoot in it.

In the end, despite inspired genre filmmaking by Mr. Sanchez, Exists  simply doesn't manage to transcend the silly premise and become one of the classic horror films that it could have been. Instead it's a fun little film that never overstays its welcome and will surely entertain the viewer in between more important tasks. For me...it was a nice break in between watching a marathon of 90-Day Fiance. So, yeah...not great...but, not really a waste of time, either. People should really learn to stop fucking with Sasquatch. 





Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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