Willow Creek


Willow Creek (2014)


Critic 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.


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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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News & Interviews for Willow Creek

Critic Reviews for Willow Creek

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (10)

Despite the impressively committed performances by the two leads and the screenplay's touches of sly humor, the proceedings are mostly all too redolent of the endless found-footage horror films that have followed in the wake of The Blair Witch Project

Jan 5, 2015 | Full Review…

"Willow Creek" is a defiant slow burn.

Jun 6, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Mr. Goldthwait gives us lovely, buttery daylight scenes, nicely relaxed leads and dialogue that pays attention to fluctuating gender dynamics.

Jun 5, 2014 | Full Review…

The parts are greater than the whole, but there's a lot to like here, including the easy interplay between the leads.

Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

He may be seriously slumming by putting a modern spin on 1972's The Legend Of Boggy Creek, but at least Goldthwait's done his homework.

Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
AV Club
Top Critic

A found-footage horror cheapie that turns out to be its creator's warmest, most satisfying work.

Jun 3, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Willow Creek

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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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 Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

three stars

MisterYoda ?
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

Found footage films are overdone, and it's been a fact for some time now. However, there are a select few films in the last few years that have stood out for me in this genre of horror. V/H/S was one of them, and I quite enjoyed a few others as well. But, in recent years, sequels to once fun, entertaining found footage horror films have dwindled in quality, and the genre has been overdone. Although nothing ground breaking in the genre, I somewhat enjoyed Willow Creek, and this is the type of film that you watch when you have nothing else to watch. This is a pleasant time waster during a rainy afternoon, but it does leave viewers disappointed, and I can see why the film has been met with a mixed response. This is your typical found footage picture and it is predictable in the way it builds up to its climax. The two cast members are good here, and they have good chemistry. What Willow Creek does is tread far too familiar ground to make a film. Willow Creek doesn't do anything refreshing like V/H/S did, but it's a fun little film if you're in the right state of mind. I have to admit a found footage film based on the Bigfoot lore is quite entertaining, and for the most part it is if you can forget the clichéd atmosphere of the film. I guess with Willow Creek, all concepts of the found footage genre has been explored, and I'm sure they'll make other films in this genre, and over blow it to new heights of overdoing it. This is still a good film even if it's not great, and I came into it with mixed emotions, but came out of it satisfied. Willow Creek isn't a bad found footage film, and it's far from the worst, and it's an entertaining little flick worth seeing if you're in the mood for mindless amusement.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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