Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sasquatch (2002)

Sasquatch could have been a better film. It has a decent cast, and a decent premise. A plane has gone down, and after two months, the search has been called off. So Harlan Knowles (Lance Henriksen) assembles his own team to go looking for the plane, because his daughter was on board, as well as a piece of machinery that's important for his company. Each of the characters has his or her own reason for wanting to go on this search, and of course their hunt leads them into the territory of the sasquatch. Sounds okay, doesn't it?

But the problems start right at the beginning. We get lots of exposition, and most of it is given to us twice - first by a news reporter, and then again by one of the main characters. It's not like the information is hard to follow. A plane went down; they couldn't find survivors - we got it.

There is an attractive blonde in the group, and when she goes to her tent to turn in for the night we get some odd softcore porn music as she takes off her sweater and pants. And the camera angles get all weird. Seriously, it's like we're suddenly watching a strip flick, except that she has on another shirt underneath the sweater, and leaves that on. It's impossible to figure out the filmmaker's intentions with this scene, unless it's simply to annoy the viewers.

The blonde keeps hitting on Lance Henriksen. In one scene she mentions something about going to a hot spring that she saw earlier, and wants one of the men to accompany her. One of the other guys jumps at the chance, but she turns him down. So Lance begrudgingly volunteers. Another guy gives Lance a gun in case they're attacked, and Lance says, "If she gets fresh, I'll use it." That's a good bit of dialogue. And there are other nice little moments like that, and a couple of surprising bits, like when they find a gun on the plane, and there is an arm attached to it. And when they stumble upon the sasquatch's stash of goodies. Of course, Lance Henriksen is always good. I particularly like the moment when he's watching the footage his daughter shot on her video camera.

But the editing is all over the place in this film. There are lots of annoying fades that seem to have no purpose. And there is a scene whose editing defies explanation. Lance and another character are talking in the cockpit; then Lance is in the other section of the plane; then they're back in the cockpit, talking; then Lance is outside the plane; then they're back in the cockpit talking. What the fuck is that about? My only guess is that the editor thought that the cockpit scene was too dull, so he spliced in bits from other scenes.

And there are some big leaps - like that the sasquatch would somehow know what the piece of equipment was for. Come on, that's ridiculous. Most of the film's characters don't even know what it's for until Lance explains it to them. And some characters do things you just don't believe at all. Like the blonde - she suddenly decides to steal the equipment and make a run for it at night, even after they've been attacked by the sasquatch. Totally unbelievable, especially considering that she's already gotten what she wanted from Lance.

This is a bad movie that could have been better had the writers done a few more drafts, and the editor not been on heavy medication. (Oddly, the editor also worked on Brothers Bloom, a movie that I absolutely loved.)

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