SASQ-WATCH! is a (big) foot above the rest
Television shows like The Office (US & UK), Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family, have been recognized for perfecting the use of single-camera, documentary-style filming that are presented as a mix of voyeuristic and testimonial shots with no laugh track, allowing for the dry wit and ‘incidental’ humor to prevail. Despite the mediocre packaging and marketing of Sasq-Watch!, the creators effectively utilize the very same technique that has allowed the previously mentioned TV shows their well-deserved success.
Brothers Nigel (Paul Brittain) and Oscar (Adam Herschman) have spent their entire lives researching Sasquatch sightings. When Nigel has acquired all the necessary resources, he and Oscar head out to the location of a recent sighting of the beast. Nigel is the brains of the operation, while Oscar acts as the muscle and comic relief. Nigel’s deceased friend’s sister, Jamie (Christine Bently) reluctantly tags along with them, on orders from her father. Upon arriving at the site, they are provided with a tour guide, Samson (hilarious Neil Flynn, who played the janitor on Scrubs), who provides fresh quarry and a few unsettling campfire tales to the group. Tim Meadows plays Claus, Nigel’s former mentor and current rival, and Claus is accompanied by his student lackeys, Chris (Dean J. West) and Lana (Sherri Eakin). The plot is one of many typical Bigfoot stories – the search is the reason for the excursion, but that becomes secondary when layers of drama between characters begin to unfold. Nigel is the victim, with relation to nearly every character – he has to coordinate with his uncoordinated brother Oscar at all times, he has to deal with Jamie’s ongoing lack of enthusiasm and constant desire to be elsewhere, and he has to deal with Claus’ ongoing empty threats at every turn. There are elements of humor from many facets here – each character adds their own moment or two of comedic awkwardness in a timely manner and well within their character’s range. The contrast between Nigel’s groups’ boondocking and experiencing of Murphy’s Law, along with Claus’ visibly extravagant lodgings and multi-layers of comfort and ease, add an additional level of amusement.
Sasq-Watch! is director Drew Hall’s fifth feature length film. It would seem like he prefers directing short films, as he has directed five so far with three more on the way. This film is a departure from his previous work, as he has dealt with the action/thriller genre with most of his features, with a touch of sci-fi. Any laughs generated by his previous films are most likely accidental and unintentional.
Remember the film Strange Wilderness, starring Steve Zahn and Justin Long? If you enjoyed that film, it’s likely Sasq-Watch! will entertain you in much the same way. But you never know – this small film may entertain you in a big (foot) way.