When you watch a direct to video movie, you never know what you are going to get. I entered into Hunting Grounds with trepidation knowing little about the plot, but feeling like I had seen a movie like it before. I was quickly proven wrong because this movie is 100 percent its own. Is it possible to make a decent movie about Big Foot? Let’s find out.
First and foremost, the foundation of every movie is the acting. No matter how good a story is, if the acting sucks you are not going to have a good film. If you ignore the fact that Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s fake crying is so bad it will make you laugh, the acting is decent, though no one is going to win an Oscar. The one exception is D’Angelo Midili, who delivered a performance so genuine that I had to look him up to see what else he had been in. Though his filmography is already pretty large, I suspect his star is only starting to rise.
When you get down to the thick of it, this movie is what it is, Hunting Grounds is a movie about Big Foot – or Big Feet. A father and son are hard on their luck and are forced to move to a remote cabin in the woods where they are joined by a brother-in-law and childhood friend for a weekend to forget about their hard times. The four set out on a hunting expedition only to run into a clan of sasquatches, which are not happy that humans have invaded their territory. From there it is a fight for survival and the true colors of the survivors come out.
The movie does an excellent job at character building without being boring. You find yourself well into the movie before any of the action starts, but I never felt a sense that Hunting Grounds was slow-moving. Once the action does start it doesn’t stop and there is no shortage of suspense. You find yourself constantly questioning who is alive and who isn’t and, even though the body count isn’t very high, the deaths-by-sasquatch are brutal.
Though it was a necessary evil in the movie, the biggest disappointment was the Big Feet themselves. The costumes and makeup were sub-par and took a little bit of steam out of the suspense of the movie. Hunting Grounds would have been better served to keep them off camera as much as possible. That being said, there are some gory scenes in which the special effects department did a great job at creating some realistic limb severing.
Coming from someone who has seen an embarrassing amount of Big Foot movies, this movie does sasquatch right. Though they are monsters, you are offered a glimpse of their intelligent and nurturing side. You are also shown that humans can sometimes be more animalistic than the animals they claim to lord over. This straight to video horror movie is surprisingly thought-provoking and leaves you questioning whether it is the big feet or the humans that are the real monsters. If you are a fan of horror, I would recommend seeing this movie at least once.
Hunting Grounds is set to be released February 7, 2017.