Friday, May 15, 2015

Hunting Grounds aka Valley of the Sasquatch (SIFF 2015) - Movie Review

Hunting Grounds (formerly Valley of the Sasquatch), written and directed by John Portanova, is a locally produced film shot entirely on location within the state of Washington. Starring in this monster, horror movie is Jason Vail, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Bill Oberst Jr., David Saucedo, and D'Angelo Midili.

The Story:
After tragedy strikes, a father and son (Vail and Joris-Peyrafitte) leave their former lives behind and attempt to start fresh by roughing it in the woods in a family owned cabin. Joined by two friends, they set out for some nature activities, but end up running into a legendary creature who, up until now, had only been rumored to be inhabiting the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The Review:
It's pretty clear that John Portanova, the movie's creator, had a very clear vision on how he wanted to bring the Sasquatch legend to life as his film is very well put together and is much more than your average creature in the woods type horror movie. I would actually say this is more of a dramatic feature that has some classic horror elements to it. Either way, the movie is really a love letter to one of the stranger pieces of history and culture that defines the northwest lifestyle. The acting performances turned in by the cast are all about what you would expect from an indie project like this and everyone is at least believable in their roles. The father and son dynamic that plays out over the course of the film is a key piece to what makes the whole thing work as it gives you a couple people to actually care about instead of the usual monster fodder you might expect.

The Verdict:
I have to say I enjoyed Hunting Grounds very much and it is definitely a welcome entry into the creature/horror/cabin in the woods type movies we all love to watch. To me, this seems like one of those films that will be at it's best in an old style movie house packed with people ready to enjoy an authentic northwest treat.

CLICK HERE to see my picks from the 2015 SIFF lineup.


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