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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Sasquatch (2003)

"Come on, you ape!"
- Harlan Knowles (Lance Henriksen)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 09, 2003

Stars: Lance Henriksen, Andrea Roth
Other Stars: Russell Ferrier, Jeremy Radick, Mary Mancini, Erica Parker, Phil Granger
Director: Jonas Quastel

MPAA Rating: R for language, some violence and brief nudity
Run Time: 01h:25m:52s
Release Date: March 11, 2003
UPC: 043396008892
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-BB B-

DVD Review

There haven't been really that many decent horror flicks about the legend of Bigfoot (or Sasquatch), which has always puzzled me. A mythical hairy man/beast living in the woods of the Pacific Northwest seems like it would be a good, mineable source for the required level of B-movie horror shenanigans. Sasquatch takes a stab at it, and writer/director Jonas Quastel even throws in perpetually growly Lance Henriksen as a perpetually growly man, Harlan Knowles, tracking his missing daughter right into the heart of Bigfoot country.

Knowles is the head of the mysterious genetic research company, Bio-Comp, and after his daughter's plane crashes in a remote section of wilderness somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, he organizes a search party. Made up of a nice cross-section of folks who just never seem to get along, the group includes a guide (Russell Ferrier), a booze-swigging hunter/author (Phil Granger), a computer nerd (Jeremy Radick) and a sexy insurance underwriter (Andrea Roth). There is plenty of bickering and sniping as they descend deeper into the woods, and thanks to a blurry and distorted P.O.V. technique, we also know that something big and hairy is tracking them.

Sasquatch was originally entitled The Untold, which I suppose is slightly more vague and not quite so bluntly revealing, especially considering the fact that the creature isn't really confirmed as such until midway through the film. Quastel didn't discover the name change until he sat down to record the disc's commentary track, and his disappointment (though tinged with sarcastic humor) is pretty evident. The building of suspense and tension that Quastel tried to employ is diluted slightly when you know right out of the box, based on the title, that the film is about Sasquatch.

Most of the time, the story focuses on the scraggly search team, with good ol' Sasquatch relegated to a few quick glimpses seen through tree branches. There appears to have been a couple of different creature costumes used, and the differences are rather severe. It's obvious what scenes were added later, using a cheaper-looking, alarmingly fur-less costume. The original creature, which doesn't resemble the gorilla-looking thing on the cover, was sleek and fairly creepy-looking, and is unfortunately only used in a few scenes.

Sasquatch likely won't be remembered as the best Bigfoot movie ever made, and thanks to some last minute studio wrangling and editing, it's probably not even the film Quastel tried to make in the first place. Still, it's not a bad B-movie, and I just have to like any film with Lance Henriksen scowling his way towards an inevitable (and particularly well-written) confrontation with Bigfoot .

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Sasquatch is presented here in a very clean 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors run primarily in the deep blue and green range, with fleshtones looking properly chilly and pale much of the time. Black levels are solid, with strong shadow delineation, even during the stylish, swirling attack sequences. Another plus regarding this transfer is that for a film with so much fog and mist, grain is very, very minimal. A couple of specks here and there, but in general a nice-looking transfer for B-movie.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Columbia TriStar has delivered Sasquatch in both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 surround for this release. The 5.1 track is the preferred option, with a noticeably broader and more enveloping sound mix to be had. The occasional growls of the creature really do rumble the sub, and there is a better defined separation across the front channels, something the 2.0 track really lacks. Dialogue, even Henriksen's craggy growl, are crisp and well-mixed. Rears aren't overused, and come into play mostly during some of the creature P.O.V. scenes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Infested, Boa
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Jonas Quastel, Rob Clark, Phil Granger, Jeremy Radick
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: I love a good B-movie commentary, and Sasquatch has a fun one with writer/director Jonas Quastel, producer Rob Clark, along with actors Phil Granger and Jeremy Radick. There's quite a bit of dry, sarcastic humor, especially concerning the film's sudden name change from the more mysterious The Untold to Sasquatch, a fact that surprises all of the participants as the opening credits roll; Quastel admits to being completely "taken aback" by the unexpected change, and talks about the goals and challenges of making a serial-type adventure film in just twelve days (though he mentions that the final print was given some abrupt last minute changes). The track is very casual, but the humor quotient is steady and there are plenty of anecdotes about Lance Henriksen's Teflon sweater.

A brief Photo Gallery of five images is included, as are trailers for Sasquatch, Infested, and Boa. The disc is cut into 20 chapters, and features subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Yep, it's Bigfoot time, and Lance Henriksen is along for the ride. A bit too much in the way of post-production editing has twisted Jonas Quastel's script away from his original intent of creating a fun throwback to the old jungle adventure serial format (only here set in the woods of the Pacific Northwest). If you squint hard enough, you can glean some worthwhile chunks out of this one, and the commentary track reveals how the finished product doesn't always represent the director's original intentions.

Even with the inconsistencies, it's worth a rental if you're a Sasquatch-head.

 


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