Directed By: Andrew Gernhard
Starring: Kevin Shea, Greg Nutcher, Sarah J. Ahearn
Premiere: This movie premiered at the 2009 Silk City Film Festival
Trivia: A large portion of the film was shot in an abandoned police station in Connecticut
If you're looking for a top-notch horror film about the Bigfoot monster, the pickings are, sadly, a little slim. The Legend of Boggy Creek is perhaps the most notable of the bunch, and I did enjoy recent entries like Willow Creek and Eduardo Sanchez’s Exists. I would even toss Snowbeast and Abominable into the mix (the Yeti is a distant cousin of Bigfoot, right?), but aside from these few there’s not a whole hell of a lot to choose from. A 2009 micro-budget horror film from director Andrew Gernhard, Assault of the Sasquatch probably won’t make its way onto anyone’s “Top 5 favorite Bigfoot Movies” list, but it’s not a total loss, either.
Terry Drake (Kevin Shea), a wily, one-eyed poacher who hunts bears for a living, makes the discovery of a lifetime when one of his traps snares the legendary Sasquatch (played by Jason Criscuolo). After tranquilizing the monster, Drake loads it into the back of his truck, only to be arrested moments later (for poaching) by Officers Ryan Walker (Greg Nutcher) and Krystle Morin (Cristina Santiago). Not realizing there’s a sedated Sasquatch inside, Ryan drives Drake’s truck into town while his partner transports the prisoner. Unfortunately, the nearest precinct is one that’s scheduled to be closed soon, and is manned only by a skeleton crew: Detective George Cassesse (Hank Torrence), Officer Jameson (Cuyle Carvin) and Secretary Amy Steel (Andrea Sáenz).
Over the course of the evening, two more people will make their way to the near-abandoned station: Ryan’s daughter Jessica (Sarah J. Ahearn), who agreed to meet her father there; and newly-arrested prisoner Talen Colletti (Alex Exum), who had a previous run-in with Officer Ryan years earlier and is looking for revenge. The real trouble comes, however, when the Sasquatch wakes up and breaks free. Though somewhat confused by (and curious about) it’s new surroundings, the infamous monster is also pissed off, and intends to take its anger out on those responsible for bringing him to this strange place.
With its story of an under-manned police precinct besieged by outside forces, Assault of the Sasquatch owes more than a little to John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (like that 1976 film, the cops and criminals have to team up in order to survive), and some of the characters are fairly interesting (I especially liked Sáenz’s Amy Steel, a former stripper who was taken in by Detective Cassesse a few years earlier, yet still knows how to defend herself when the chips are down). Also, while it’s certainly not the most impressive Bigfoot I ever saw (that honor would go to 1987’s Harry and the Hendersons), the title creature in Assault of the Sasquatch is convincing enough.
The problem is the creature isn’t very scary, and there’s never a moment when we believe this Sasquatch is an invincible threat (bullets seem to slow it down, and in one of the movie’s better scenes, Amy Steel kicks its ass in a fistfight). The film also has some comedic sequences that center on the creature, including one where it peers through a widow and watches a pretty young lady strip. In addition, Assault of the Sasquatch features a few side stories that go absolutely nowhere, like the Ryan / Colletti feud and, worst of all, a couple of geeks (Shawn C. Phillips and M. Kelley) who get video footage of the Sasquatch, then spend the rest of the movie trying to track the monster down again (coincidentally, they’re charter members of the I.S.S., or International Sasquatch Society).
Things do get wild at the end, and the overall pace of the movie is quite good. But if it’s a Bigfoot film you’re after, there are better ones out there.