Review – EIFF 2013 – Shooting Bigfoot

 

Film: Shooting Bigfoot

Director: Morgan Mathews

Production: Minnow Films

Writers: Documentary

Screen Dates: Fri 21 June 22:45 Film House Sat 22 June 17:05 Cineworld

 

Rating 4.5/5

 

BAFTA winner Morgan Matthews rekindles his childhood fascination of the monster mystery that is Bigfoot by following the men who never stopped believing and continually pursue the mythical creature. In doing so, Matthews manages to document several subjects who probably are more fascinating than Bigfoot itself.

Shooting Bigfoot follows three separate individuals/groups who all very quickly come across as fairly misguided. Bigfoots most famous pursuer C. Thomas Biscardi quickly comes across as arrogant, aggressive, defensive and overtly assured. A man who is manipulating, demanding and completely abhorrent to the people who follow or help him. The other strand follows Wayne Burton and Dallas Gilbert, who come across as the typically stereotyped hick simpletons, but their softer personalities bring a more warming edge to the role of Bigfoot believers, whilst Rick Dyer, like Biscardi, portrays a nastiness yet as the film unfolds Matthews is on first hand to discover is more disturbed and dangerous.

Matthews is quick to reveal how both Biscardi and Dyer have in the past colluded to fake a Bigfoot discovery, each pointing the finger at one another. Despite their lack of integrity, both are hell bent on proving the discovery to the world. What is somewhat curious about them is there intention to kill one, yet most wildlife enthusiasts believe in protecting animals, not killing them. Perhaps an inkling to either pairs’ true intentions that they are more interested in fame and fortune from their pursuit as opposed to actually believing it exists.

It quickly becomes apparent that each and everyone of them are in fact their own sitcom character, Biscardi particularly makes Dog The Bounty Hunter look like a poor mans David Brent. The film is excruciatingly funny and each of the documented men set themselves up to be the butt of their own jokes, not that they are aware of it themselves. Biscardi lays into believers that they are kidding themselves and deluded yet in beautiful irony is almost describing himself. Rick’s own wife doesn’t even believe in them, wonderfully slipped by his young daughter and Gilbert believes he’s got sheep bone as part of his skull thus makes him part animal and why he can communicate with a Sasquatch. What is particularly funny with them is the fact that they never seem to go in the woods but stand by their car howling or performing Indian chants.

As Matthews journeys further with Biscardi’s crew and Dyer, the tone of the film becomes more sinister and suspenseful as Matthews films during the night. Matthews is at one point left stranded by Biscardi’s crew in the pitch black in the night, whilst one of them has a rifle intent on shooting a Sasquatch. But it’s the documentation of Dyer that becomes a riveting affair. Dyer increasingly becomes anti-social, aggressive, and threatening. Unlike most documentarians, Matthews stands his ground with Dyer, whom he is not sure whether is playing tricks on him or the young homeless guy in the woods is playing them or just Matthews. Matthews last moments with Dyer end explosively, with Matthews a little worse for wear.

If there is a criticism about the film it doesn’t quite provide closure with Matthews time with Biscardi, or Burton or Gilbert, there’s a feeling of unfinished business with them or the director’s thoughts about them, particularly with Dyer who he possibly spent the most time with. Although, having done some research myself, Dyer has 163 likes on his Facebook page, so he’s going strong.

Some might think it’s a bit easy to show these people as idiots, but it’s wonderfully entertaining and an interesting view of the psyche of those so willing to believe but more importantly those looking to exploit those believers. In my opinion, it’s funnier and more interesting than King Of Kong or The Story of Anvil and although early days, possibly the best film of the festival.