2002 – After finding the mutilated bodies of the crew of a downed plane in a forest, a rescue party realizes there’s something deadly in the woods with them.*
*This gives away a key plot point not revealed until an hour into the movie
So, due to my five-star rating of Snow Beast, Netflix suggested that I might want to watch this one too:
Oh, YELL YEAH! Look at that monster! Look at those FANGS! It looks like a cross between Julia Roberts and a werewolf! “They found the missing link… and it’s not friendly”! This is going to be INCREDIBLE!!!
Yeah, that’s the Sasquatch. Guy with some black face paint and an out-of-control neck-beard. The best part is, you have to wait until the last minutes of the movie to even see it! Most of the time it’s just shadowy glimpses (which look nothing like that sorry dollar store rip-off costume) and ominous grunting sounds. I don’t understand it – did they blow their budget on the non-existent special effects and community theater cast? There isn’t even any hair on the arms! Could they only afford 33% of a costume?
The first sign of trouble comes within the first five minutes of the movie. I was expecting to see something called Sasquatch, but when the opening credits start to roll I saw this:
“THE UNTOLD”??? That makes it sound like a Lifetime channel Jerry Sandusky biopic. At first I thought this movie was going to do some Tarantino-style “chapter titles,” but no, apparently The Untold is the actual title of the movie. It’s appropriate, because I endured untold amounts of boredom to watch this.
The plot is this: rich guy Harlan Knowles (who everybody calls “Mr. H” – shouldn’t it be “Mr. K”?) finances a “rescue mission” because his daughter’s plane went down in the Canadian wilderness. There’s a sub-plot involving some kind of genome-mapping device or some such foolishness, but it’s halfhearted. He is accompanied by the following characters: the Nerd, the Jerk, the Whore, the Native Guide, and the Other Girl.
Two of those characters will die. Duuuuuuh, guess which ones? As the Native Guide loads up their equipment, the Jerk yells, “There’s gear in there that costs as much as your house!” Yep. He’s dead from his very first line – but if you think it’ll be a satisfyingly quick death, think again. Nobody gets knocked off until 59 minutes into the movie. The rest involves them trooping through the woods, blurry slow-motion effects, and samples of the Sasquatch’s own brand of Beast Vision:
FACT: no creature in the history of Earth has seen things like that. How would you be able to tell what anything is when you view the world through a photo-negative fishbowl? It’s just absurd, and the filmmakers use this technique constantly.
The whole time you think there’s a chance that Harlan’s daughter might have survived, but as the plot summary itself points out, everyone in the plane was already killed by the ‘Squatch. Why? Because when it crashed, the plane landed directly on top of its mate, which just so happened to be standing in that exact spot in IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VAST WILDERNESS. This is truly the most ridiculous plot contrivance in cinematic history. Actually, no. It’s the fact that the Sasquatch can dodge bullets. Seriously. In one scene they shoot at it, and it ducks behind a tree before the bullets can hit it. So we’re to believe that these creatures are Matrix-level fast, but can’t dodge A PLANE?
This movie was a tragedy. What a wasted opportunity! Imagine how great it would have been if, instead of searching for his daughter, Harlan’s company had decided to open some kind of luxury mountain cabin getaway in the Sasquatch’s territory? “You can’t open this monstrosity there, that’s the untouched wilderness! Think of the ecological impact!” “I can open my resort anywhere I want, I’m Harlan Knowles!”
Instead of being killed right away, his daughter could be a plucky college student interested in wildlife. The Sasquatch could be fighting to protect its home rather than brutally killing essentially innocent people. It could knock off vacationers left and right, and you wouldn’t feel bad because they’re rich. Maybe in one scene some guy could carelessly litter, tossing a soda can into the woods that rolls down a little hill and right up the the foot of the Sasquatch! Oh, shit. They find the guy’s battered corpse in a tree with the soda can stuffed in his mouth. The movie could end with a real touching moment – Harlan arrives to rescue his daughter, whom the ‘Squatch has kidnapped, and he’s going to kill the creature… until he sees an adorable baby Sasquatch and realizes that it was trying to defend its children, too. Harlan could learn an important lesson at the end, sort of like kindly old John Hammond from Jurassic Park.
But no. This is all we get. Next time I’ll write about a movie I actually liked.