Director Eduardo Sanchez broke into public consciousness in a big way back in 1999 via his collaboration with Daniel Myrick “The Blair Witch Project.” Love it or hate it, that low-budget indie film revolutionized the way horror films were done in Hollywood. Using “found footage” shot by the victims themselves by their hand-held cameras, the audiences were brought through the horrific experience from a first hand perspective. This year, Sanchez goes back to the technique he helped spawn to tackle the Bigfoot legend in “Exists.”
Five friends go out of the city for a weekend in a remote hunting cabin in the woods. While driving among the trees at night, their car seemed to have hit an animal, but they went on their way when they could not see anything. At the cabin though, the friends were terrorized by the unrelenting attacks of an unseen growling monster who did not want to stop until they were being killed off one by one. Could this creature indeed be the legendary Sasquatch of Indian lore? Why was it so angry?
I confess I did not like “Blair Witch Project” at all. I could barely look at the screen because of the very shaky camera work which caused me to experience severe nauseating vertigo. I stayed on (with extreme discomfort) to see how it ended, but it would have to be my most unpleasant movie watching experience of my life. “Exists” is not that dizzying despite also having several shaky camera sequences. Overall, despite the casting of unknown and unremarkable actors, this was actually quite a satisfying horror feature, not as bad as one would think.
I really liked the way those chase scenes with the Bigfoot were shot, with the monster being barely seen as a blur becoming clearer and clearer as it comes nearer. Those scenes were very well-shot and angled, and were actually quite exciting to watch. The final resolution though would turn out to be very cliché-ish, a theme done over and over already in various horror and action films. The final closeup of the Bigfoot was not really very satisfactory. Perhaps it would be better to have just left its face more to our imaginations.