If there is a simple lesson in found footage films it’s to ‘keep it simple’. One of the draws to the subgenre is that these films feel as if they ‘could be real’.
There is a reason so many of the good ones are very cut and dried – it works.
The problem is that a good found footage film LOOKS simple and LOOKS like it’d be easy to make but is sneaky in how much it takes to make a good one.
I will tip my hat to those filmmakers bold enough to try to make things a little more complicated, and hey, it can work (CLOVERFIELD is a great example of that), anything can work, but in the case of THE WILD MAN, well, it doesn’t.
With THE WILD MAN we find a trio of friends who have come to a small town to investigate several disappearances of young girls. (Though the idea that fourteen people disappeared and no FBI is involved, that you know, is a bit far fetched here). The locals want nothing to do with these intruders but there are some that are willing to talk, and what they say is that the girls didn’t disappear but were kidnapped by none other than the mythical Skunk Ape. The crew of filmmakers don’t believe this but, led by their director, a young woman who won’t stop until she gets some sort of ‘truth’, they decide to partner with a local that insists he can lead them to the skunk ape and to proof of its existence. The truth though turns out to be far bigger, and far more dangerous than Sarah and her friends had ever dreamed.
This is wholly a movie that just isn’t sure what it wants to be.
It starts as a simple found footage movie, a trio looking for truth no matter the cost.
We have seen that before and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
With this film, it really has some good acting on display. It’s clearly ACTING, but it’s good. The trio of friends really work, as does their chemistry.
The foundation which the film is built on is solid.
It’s when they start to push the film to be bigger, and bigger, and bigger that things fall apart.
Suddenly it’s a corny bigfoot conspiracy movie with soldiers and genetic experimentation and it goes off the rails.
The bigfoot costume is good.
The acting is generally solid.
The core idea was really good and could have been great.
The heck of it here too is that it’s a movie that pushes WAY past what a found footage movie is.
Footage from sources is incorporated that is all but impossible to have been acquired.
Music is inserted as if it’s a regular film or a documentary.
The climax plays out like your run of the mill direct to video horror schlockfest.
What disappoints me most here is that they had the makings of an interesting movie but Sarah becomes almost a parody of Heather from BLAIR WITCH, in her drive for answers no matter the cost, and then we go into action horror mode and it’s Katie Bar The Door and we’re off to the races.
The movie drags when the action starts and instead of being engaging, it becomes corny.
I wish these actors all the best in the world because they brought it.
I wish everyone all the best.
These are the films you make when you have the resources to make a movie.
Alas, if they had just kept it more simple, and not used their budget on trying to make a big action horror film it would have been far more impactful and better for it.
Bigger isn’t better.
Look no further.
1 out of 5