Willow Creek

2014

Willow Creek

Critics Consensus

Writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait's first foray into horror doesn't break any new ground, but it does wring fresh terror from a well-worn genre formula -- and offers a few nasty laughs in the bargain.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 56

33%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,759
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Movie Info

Described by Jimmy Kimmel as "Scary and the Hendersons" and by writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait himself as "The Blair-Squatch Project," found footage movie Willow Creek is a radical departure in Goldthwait's career after directing a string of black comedies (World's Greatest Dad, God Bless America). In the great American tradition of people venturing into the woods and encountering absolutely pants-wetting terror, what starts as two dorks with a video camera having a lark in a national park metastasizes into something much deeper, darker, and queasier. Set in Humboldt County, California, Willow Creek centers on Jim (Bryce Johnson, Pretty Little Liars) a Bigfoot believer whose idea of a romantic getaway is to head deep into Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, video camera in tow, trying to shoot his own Bigfoot footage at the site of the Patterson-Gimlin film. That 1967 fragment of footage purporting to show Sasquatch striding along a dry riverbed became a key artifact in the cryptozoology community, and Jim dreams of nothing more than setting foot on the actual location where it was shot. His long-suffering girlfriend, Kelly (Alexie Gilmore, World's Greatest Dad), agrees to tag along for the ride, despite the fact that she thinks Bigfoot has about as much chance of being real as leprechauns. (c) MPI Dark Skies

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Critic Reviews for Willow Creek

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (11)

Audience Reviews for Willow Creek

  • May 16, 2016
    It may be "The Blair-Squatch Project" but I haven't seen a found footage movie this well made and scary in a very long time - and it is so great to see how it takes its time to bring us close to its characters before throwing them (with us) in such a terrifying situation.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2015
    It made me a little nauseous. Pretty creepy, but I would've liked to have seen the creature.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2015
    Mixed thoughts about this movie, to be honest. While I thought that this was a pretty cool monster movie without the monster, I thought it also felt a little empty given how short it actually is. And yes, that is a bit of a mini-spoiler, but it's something that can be done if you've got a talented director/writer at the helm. And, for all these film's faults, Bobcat Goldthwait is still someone that I find to be an incredibly talented writer and director. He wrote and directed of the more underrated comedies during the 2000s in World's Greatest Dad, which featured some of Robin Williams best work in years, almost decades. He also wrote and directed God Bless America, a movie I felt was a little jumbled, but still good with some very solid satire. And I honestly think that Bobcat does a good enough job in his first horror movie. One thing is the fact that, because Bobcat comes from comedy, the film is littered with dark humor. The film obviously benefited from this as there's very little horror for most of this film. It just sees Jim and Kelly going around the community and interviewing people on their journey to the site where the most famous Bigfoot sighting was shot. You also get a little bit of information on the hole Bigfoot mythos and how this community's personality completely depends on that. In some ways, the movie makes it a point to bring to light that this could very well be some people trying to keep the myth alive as it's the one thing the community has and if Bigfoot really doesn't exist, then it'd take away the only thing the community has. There's also little bits and pieces of information that actually play a sizable role in the end that I almost missed. The one I'm referring to is so small that most people will probably forget about it once you get to the climax. Where the most logical conclusion would be, if you forgot about this little detail, that there's this group inbred monsters living off in the forests and they're what everyone believes is actually Bigfoot. But, taking into consideration this little bit of information, it actually changes how you view the ending. The ending will be either loved or hated, with very little middle ground. I didn't mind the lack of Bigfoot, because I think the film's horror worked without it. There's this one scene in the tent, at night, before everything goes to shit that's really cool. It's really long and it consists of Jim and Kelly sitting in the tent as they hear various odd noises, growling, pieces of trees being hit together, among other things. It starts off innocuously enough, the noises are heard from afar, but they gradually get closer and closer as the suspense keeps building. The film, only concentrated on Jim and Kelly's reactions to the noises, unedited, goes about 10+ minutes. Part of me thinks this is too long, but another, far more sizable, part of me believes that it worked to the benefit of the film. They got a lot out of, realistically, very little. It was just sound effects. While I don't think many people would be scared, some would think it's terrifying to be in that situation. Hearing these things and not even knowing what it is. That's scary to some people, so I thought it worked. The ending is one where you will have to connect the dots. If you forget a minor detail about the film, the one that plays the most part in the ending, then your enjoyment of the ending itself would probably drop. But given this little bit of information, that I will not spoil, the ending is actually pretty easy to decipher. I guess I'd have to say that I liked this movie, even with my mixed thoughts about it. It doesn't reinvent the found footage subgenre in any substantive way, but it is a pretty good addition to it. I hope this isn't Bobcat's first and only foray into horror as I think, with his dark comedy, he add a pretty unique and interesting voice to the genre. I bought this for $5 at the local K-Mart, so I can't really complain too much. Not gonna be to everyone's liking, but I enjoyed it in spite of it feeling a little bit hollow and empty.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2014
    Bobcat Goldthwait is an audacious writer-director who has been consistently underestimated and no one could've concocted that he would upend the found-footage subgenre with 'Willow Creek', a flippant faux-documentary on the Bigfoot mythos. With a tinge of verisimilitude, novice filmmaker Jim (Bryce Johnson) actually checks and tests the audio levels on his equipment before he begins his series of ungainly interviews with Bluff Creek locals who range from blithe non-believers to devout Sasquatch enthusiasts. Murals of the fabled creature erecting a house are subject of very funny potshots from Jim and the film is not without a winking sense of humor (ex. They comment that no cell reception is the "beginning of every horror movie"). Although his approach is DIY and minimalist, Goldthwait is quite astute about the unrefined mockumentary format like the line reading flubs and uncooperative raconteurs ala the visiting-center woman who is awfully monosyllabic and vague. The coup de grace is an unvarnished 20-minute long take with Jim and Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) cowering in fear from the acoustics (wood-knocking, yelps and footsteps) in the surrounding campsite and the effect is eerie and heart-palpitating. For the most part, Jim and Kelly are extremely affable leads and this causes the audience to feel consternation when they are threatened to vacate the site of the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin reel. Normally horror fans are programmed to believe that daylight is sanctum from nocturnal terror, but Bobcat ramps up the trepidation with hair samples and snarling vocalizations near a ravine.
    Cory T Super Reviewer

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