Horror

Sasquatch Sunset Review – Cryptid Comedy Gets Gross

There’s a lot to appreciate about co-directors David Zellner and Nathan Zellner‘s unique cryptid comedy, Sasquatch Sunset. A slice-of-life chronicling of a nomadic sasquatch family, possibly the very last of their kind, bridges the short gap between humans and cryptids in its showcasing of family drama to comedic effect. That the fiercely committed cast remains completely unrecognizable under head-to-toe prosthetics also impresses. Despite a short runtime, though, the nonverbal cryptid comedy winds up feeling like a bit that quickly overstays its welcome.

Riley KeoughJesse EisenbergChristophe Zajac-Denek, and Nathan Zellner make up a foursome of hairy Bigfoots who spend their days leisurely gathering and hunting- mostly gathering- while searching for more of their kind. Broken down by seasons, Sasquatch Sunset follows their drifting through the North American wilderness as their animal instincts drive them forward. While that means a variety of cuddly cute animal encounters and occasional danger, it mostly means watching along as they fart, procreate, lactate, poop, pee, vomit, and even fling their turds. Also, expect to get acquainted with Bigfoot boners. Way too many.

At first, it’s amusing to see these fictional cryptids interact with actual animals or fight over fermented berries on a dried-out bush, only to find themselves blackout drunk. Or the mating rituals that ensue, as well as subsequent growls and aggression exuded by the lone female when she isn’t in the mood. There’s even an affecting poignancy and macabre humor to the family’s shenanigans when their curiosity leads to catastrophe.

Sasquatch Sunset

That it’s all conveyed through grunts, whoops, and fist-pounding makes for a fascinating experiment in form, with the Zellners capturing it all like a retro nature documentary complete with a folksy score and wide-sweeping shots of bucolic forests and mountainsides. Humans are alluded to, but never shown, though the further the family wanders the more telltale signs of encroaching humanity mounts. It’s in the details where Sasquatch Sunset weaves its deeply weird and gross narrative.

As impressive as the creature design and practical makeup effects are, it’s tough to tell most of the family members apart. Behaviors and human eyes beneath the prosthetics become important visual clues to deciphering the Alpha male from the Beta male, as well as their primary form of communication: grunts. While it can make distinguishing personalities difficult, there’s no question that the makeup effects are award-worthy. The longer the runtime wears on, though, the more Riley Keough runs away with the film with her fearless portrayal of a Bigfoot and all of its inherent grossness. 

Riley Keough Sasquatch

And it’s the gross factor that winds up sinking this cryptid comedy. There’s an underlying commentary on deforestation that’s sobering, and the constant parallels between humans and bigfoot lend poignancy. But gross-out gags get over-employed as connective tissue to a repulsive degree. To the point where it overshadows everything that works. Sasquatch Sunset winds up becoming a movie about bodily functions, relayed in graphic detail. It can be tough to pick up the subtle visual clues and messaging about environmentalism when the imagery of an Alpha sasquatch getting vomit tangled up in his fur sears into your skull, for example. Or the jarring, gag-reflex-inducing way the family responds to the discovery of a human-made road. 

Sasquatch Sunset is unabashed in its absurd humor and fixation with bodily fluids. While there’s impressive artistry on display, this cryptid comedy is prone to meandering, and its constant barrage of toilet humor tests patience. Exploring the human condition through affable yet repulsive fictional animals winds up feeling more like a comedy bit stretched well past its welcome.

Sasquatch Sunset screened at SXSW and will release in theaters on April 12, 2024.

2.5 out of 5 skulls

Originally Published Here.

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