Review by Sean Boelman
Zach Lamplugh isn’t breaking new ground as much as he seems to think he is with his mockumentary 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot, but it’s still pretty charming for a spoof. Although it takes a while to get to where it needs to be, it is satisfyingly entertaining once it gets to its point in the final act.
Poking fun at the VICE style of investigative journalism (or infotainment, depending on who you ask), the series follows a reporter and his producer who follow an amateur cryptozoologist into the forest to follow Bigfoot’s trail. This is trying really hard to be both quirky and insightful at the same time, but doesn’t pull it off until the last third.
Ultimately, this feels like a comedy sketch stretched into an eighty-minute movie. There are some funny moments sprinkled throughout, but it never gets to the point of being riotous. It constantly feels like it is building to something, and while the payoff is there, the first half of the film never escapes this feeling of needing a higher purpose.
In the movie, Lamplugh and co-writer Brian Emond play fictionalized versions of themselves. This setup creates some great chemistry between the two stars, and the film owes much of its comedic momentum to this. Supporting actor Jeffrey Stephenson is also mostly funny as the slightly unhinged Bigfoot hunter.
That said, there are some extreme deficiencies in character development. The arcs that the main two characters have are both very superficial and generic. It’s hard to get invested in yet another story of two best friends clashing because one of them thinks themselves superior and must learn a bit of humility.
And in terms of how it pokes fun at this style of journalism, the movie pulls a disappointing amount of punches. There have been other VICE-esque mockumentaries that have done this same thing in a more substantial way. Even though the film does point out some of the obvious flaws of the medium, it fails to analyze any of the deeper issues with sensationalized journalism.
Of course, the movie is shot in a way as to mimic a lot of the stylistic quirks that VICE has in its reporting, and Lamplugh does a solid job of that. It’s admittedly pretty gimmicky, and the novelty wears out after the first twenty minutes or so, leaving an hour of competent but mostly unexceptional mockumentary filmmaking.
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot ends very strongly, but it does struggle to find its footing for much of its runtime. It’s mostly entertaining, although this likely would have made a better short than a feature.
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot hits theaters and VOD on May 7.