Film: Exists (2014)
Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Genre: Found Footage/Cryptid
Why You Should Watch It: Texas Bigfoot!
Take a heaping helping of The Blair Witch Project, a dash of Evil Dead and sprinkle in a little Harry and the Hendersons and you’ve got Eduardo Sanchez’s 2014 found footage film EXISTS. I happened to stumble upon this now nearly ten-year-old film scrolling through Amazon Prime’s catalog on a lazy Saturday and I was so happy that I did. Bigfoot films are abundant, but I can only think of a couple in the found footage/horror genre that I’ve honestly enjoyed. Since viewing Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2013 found footage bigfoot movie Willow Creek I haven’t found another that quite hits the same mark, but Exists more than got the job done.
As per usual, this story starts with a bunch of carefree college age kids heading into the woods for a fun, boozy weekend getaway. Brothers Brian and Matt bring their group of friends out to their uncle’s remote cabin in Eastern Texas for a weekend of dirt bike jumps, swimming and smoochin’. Sounds great, right? Yeah, except dumb dumb Brian and Matt forgot to tell their friends that their uncle didn’t want anyone to be at the cabin because it wasn’t safe.
Then surprise, surprise, the knuckleheads accidentally hit something big and hairy on the main road leading to the cabin. Oops.
If you watch this film and think, wow, this sure reminds me of The Blair Witch Project, then you would be correct. Exist director Eduardo Sanchez also co-directed and wrote the Blair Witch Project from 1999, the original found footage horror film that really started it all. I’m such a fan of BWP that I wrote a ten-page thesis on the film for my college Occult in Literature class, but that’s for another blog post. While Exist is a little more fun and lighthearted, the spirit of Blair Witch is the same and the scares are just as good. Shaky handheld footage abounds, surprises are around every corner and the ending is sad and satisfying all at once.
Some spoilery things below, so please skip if you don’t wanna know!
Some things that I thought were just silly: In the inciting incident, the driver of the vehicle hits the bigfoot because he is distracted. Why is he distracted? Because one of his friends is burning the other friend’s beard with a lighter while he sleeps. What?! Who does that?! There were a few other ridiculous things, like silly people standing in front of windows when there is a bigfoot right outside, but the beard burning part really made me roll my eyes.
Some things I loved: This bigfoot is pissed off at these kids and doesn’t screw around. He’ll twist up your bike like a pretzel and throw it like a frisbee. He’ll pelt boulders at your head as if they were pebbles. He’ll stop at nothing to get back at those dumbass kids! I’m not easy to scare unless it is a jump scare, and this one got me good near the end, even if I should have seen it coming.
This is a film that definitely deserves more attention in the found footage space, and in my opinion, is probably one of the best bigfoot films ever made. Even the costume of the creature is pretty great and hits all the right notes for what we think of as the classic big hairy guy in the woods. If you’re looking for a fun popcorn flick for your next Friday night viewing, be sure to check out Exists!