Director Eduardo Sanchez returns to the found-footage horror style he helped pioneer with The Blair Witch Project in his latest effort which only serves to prove that the genre has become completely ossified. This second found-footage Bigfoot thriller to appear this year—Bobcat Goldthwait recently went to the same well with the more inventive Willow Creek—Exists is a compendium of horror movie clichés whose visual style is roughly akin to trying to watch a movie while riding in a rollercoaster. Profits will inevitably ensue, if only because the film’s budget appears to have been in the low three figures.
Five nondescript young people, including the requisite scantily clad females, embark on a summer weekend in the deep Texan woods, apparently unaware of the existence of such things as resort hotels. Their trouble begins when they hit something with their car while driving on a remote road, but fail to find the presumed animal victim.
Naturally one of the vacationers, Brian (Chris Osborn) is a YouTube enthusiast who’s brought along a collection of video cameras to document every moment of the trip, including, creepily, a tryst between two of the more attractive attendees.
Arriving at the desolate, rundown cabin that’s reachable only by a long hike through the woods, they begin hearing loud guttural noises and shrieks, the first sign that they’re not exactly alone. Sure enough, it isn’t long before a man wearing a gorilla suit—excuse me, the long sought-after Bigfoot—begins making appearances, if the fleeting glimpses of the creature (Brian Steele) can be thus described.
Cue the predictable mayhem, with the quintet frantically fighting for their lives against the monster apparently bent on murderous revenge. Although they make vain attempts to be conciliatory (“Hello, Mr. Sasquatch? I just want to be friends,” one declares), their efforts are for naught as Bigfoot seems less than interested in anything other than adding to the body count.
In the usual style of these outings, the presumed videographer proves himself particularly inept, apparently unable to hold his camera still for a single second. The preponderance of night vision and shaky cam shots renders the proceedings into a visual mush whose ultimate effect is inducing nausea.
Bereft of interesting characters, clever dialogue and any semblance of humor or visual coherence, Exists offers nothing to justify its cinematic existence.
Production: Court Five, Haxan Films, Miscellaneous Entertainment
Cast: Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis, Brian Steele
Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Screenwriter: Jamie Nash
Producers: Robin Cowie, Jane Fleming, J. Andrews Jenkins, Mark Ordesky
Executive producers: George Waud, D. Todd Shepherd, Reed Frerichs, Gregg Hale
Director of photography: John W. Rutland
Editors: J. Andrew Jenkins, Andrew Eckblad, Eduardo Sanchez
Production designer: Andrew C. White
Composer: Nima Fakhrara
Casting: Beth Sepko
Rated R, 86 min.