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Sony Picture Classics presents
Sasquatch Hunters (aka Primeval) (2004)

"A museum keeps everything. It's like a museum."
- Dr. Ethan Edwards (Gary Sturm)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 13, 2005

Stars: Matt Lattimore, Amy Shelton-White
Other Stars: Kevin O'Connor, Gary Sturm, David Zelina, Juliana Dever, Stacy Branscombe, Rick Holland
Director: Fred Tepper

MPAA Rating: R for violence and some language
Run Time: 01h:28m:10s
Release Date: April 12, 2005
UPC: 043396109636
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C DC+C+ D

DVD Review

Somewhere out there I have faith that there must a decent, frightening script about Bigfoot just waiting to be made. There has to be.

What does it mean when a family film like Harry and The Hendersons is the benchmark for this particular sub-genre? It must mean nobody gives two hoots about the hairy legend, because from what I've seen there hasn't been anything that has really scratched the surface of making a good, old-fashioned horror film set in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest. The recent attempt by Sasquatch, with the always craggy Lance Henriksen, came pretty close to delivering what it promised, but suffered a few rather gaping structural flaws that combined to prevent it from being anything but half-hearted try.

That brings us to Sasquatch Hunters (aka Primeval), a horribly misguided cheapie from director Fred Tepper that plays more like a candidate for Mystery Science Theater 3000 than it does as legit entertainment. And I'll grant you that as an accidental comedy, this one's a hoot, but I don't think that was Tepper's intent at all.

In this one, a mixed bag of forest rangers, academics and one busty photographer set out on some sort of mission to locate some mysterious old bones—how they're supposed to find them exactly is a little vague—and while this is a minor quibble, I would have been more than willing to overlook some of these minor script issues if the whole thing came together a little better.

We meet Sasquatch right out of the box, after he dispatches a trio of boozy backwoods types, including one via the old swing-the-body-by-the-feet-against-a-tree-really-hard technique that suffers the indignity of taking place with a truly awful dummy (and I mean a dummy, not the actor). But after this little warmup, it's a whole lot of inane chatter ("Africa? What's in Africa?") and plenty of long walking scenes as our intrepid group end up smack in the middle of Bigfoot country, from which it then becomes your standard pick-off-characters-one-by-one story until a weirdly convenient finale that has Tepper failing to realize that the more we see this film's Sasquatch, the less scary he becomes. That is, unless you happen to be frightened by a guy in a gorilla mask and a mismatched fur suit, or briefly by bit of CG involving Bigfoot playing a game of toss the human.

At least Sasquatch had some hastily added nudity (body double or not, who cares?) to divert one's wandering attention span, something that Sasquatch Hunters could have really used to liven up the action in between the long walking scenes and dialogue about setting up the perfect tent. It's a known fact that when a horror movie starts going horribly wrong, it's time to dip into the nudity well; that's just the way it is.

Meanwhile, I am still waiting for the five-star Bigfoot movie that I know has to be out there somewhere.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: A rather disappointing nonanamorphic transfer in 1.85:1 widescreen from Sony, perhaps a result of the low budget source material not being fully up to snuff, but either way it's not always pretty. Some sequences look fairly decent, with evenly rendered colors and accurate, natural fleshtones, but too often there is excessive grain and an image that is woefully soft on detail.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: One audio option, and it is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. There's a lot of wasted potential here, because even though the rear channels get used at times— and once in a great while the sub kicks in— the dialogue suffers from faint distortion and some occasional clipping that negates any good the rest of the mix showcases. Late in the film the quality seems to improve marginally, most notably during the big climactic man vs Sasquatch chase scene.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Boogeyman, Vampires: The Turning, Boa vs. Python, Frankenfish, Wild Things: Diamonds In The Rough
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras other than some trailers, but there are a couple of decent ones in the lot (Boogeyman, Frankenfish). Other than that, the disc is cut into 16 chapters, with optional subtitles in English or French.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Add Sasquatch Hunters—or Primeval, if you prefer—to the long list of marginally rotten movies about Bigfoot. I'm still waiting for a good one to be made. Someone's got to have it in them somewhere.

This ain't it by any stretch of the imagination.

 


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