A team of scientists gets more than they bargained for while on a research trip. Dr.Ethan Edwards and Dr.Helen Gilbert are a pair of paleontologists who are leading a team of students and forest rangers on an expedition though a deeply wooded area in search of fossils. Edwards and Gilbert are hoping to find evidence that will support their theory that a primitive primate, not unlike the "Sasquatch" or "Bigfoot," lived in the area. After setting up camp one night, the crew discovers what appears to be some sort of burial ground for creatures very much like those the researchers were hoping to find. But the excitement of this discovery turns sour when the paleontologists realize that most of the bones are of fairly recent vintage -- and that a living and very angry specimen of the Sasquatch is lurking in the woods, ready to attack.
Directed by: Fred Tepper
. Starring: Matt Lattimore
, Amy Shelton-White
, Kevin O'Connor
, Gary Sturm
, David Zelina
, Juliana Dever
, Stacey Branscombe
, Rick Holland
, Samuel Mongiello
, Thomas Webb
, Paul Wensley
, Tom Burns
, Jennifer Flynn
. Music by: William T. Stromberg
"Sasquatch Hunters" is a 2005 straight-to-video low-budget Bigfoot flick. You have to realize this going in to appreciate it. I mention this because of the heavy criticism of other reviewers. C'mon, it's a freakin' Grade-B Bigfoot flick. What did these grumblers expect -- "Apocalypse Now"?
THE PLOT: A handful of scientists investigate the possibility of some strange gorilla bones and are joined by four rangers and a security guide. They hike for days into the forests and discover a burial ground of gorilla bones. The problem is, the creatures still exist and don't like people messing with their grave site.
WHAT WORKS: I like the fact that this is a serious film. There's no comedy, goofiness or camp to be found.
Secondly, the characters are likable, which is something another reviewer noted. This is important because if you like the characters you're more likely to care what happens to them.
Some criticize the acting, but I feel it smacks of realism. Let's keep in mind that many in the expedition are meeting for the first time. The characters act like a group of people awkwardly getting to know one another. The F-word is thrown around a few times but no more than in real life; besides, when the creature attacks and the deaths mount it's to be expected.
The cast features three quality women. Amy Shelton-White plays the scientist Dr. Helen, essentially the heroine of the tale. She may look like the girl next door but she's actually quite attractive. Then there's Lou, the sexy petite blond college gal who's documenting the expedition, played by the stunning Juliana Dever. And, yes, she has a brief shower scene at the creek (albeit in a bikini, so don't expect nudity). Lastly there's the naive, meek and kinda-cute young ranger woman, Janet, played by Stacey Branscombe. Janet is sweet, but doesn't seem like she even belongs in the forest like a real ranger.
Another positive is the location. The film was shot entirely at Topanga State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains in western Los Angeles, which is notable as the biggest wilderness area of any major city in the entire world. The forest foliage is just dense enough to give the proper wilderness impression while sparse enough for the viewer to see what's going on. I'm sure it made filming easier as well.
Some criticize that the score is too epic, melodramatic and LOUD. It's true that the "epic" part is too loud in the first half hour (as they're trekking trough the forest), but overall I appreciate it. Some parts are reminiscent of the original "Planet of the Apes," which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. The best and most surprising part is played over the end credits, a potent and pleasant quasi-classical piece. I wasn't expecting this in a low-budget Bigfoot flick and it gives the film a touch of class, as if the filmmakers were at least trying for something greater than the limitations of a direct-to-video monster flick.
Some criticize the appearance of the creature(s). The film deviates from real-life accounts and other film depictions of Sasquatch in that the creature here is just a big shaggy gorilla, albeit really fast, almost like a super gorilla (like the super wolves in "Wolfen"). Some shots are obviously total CGI and you can tell, but other shots are of actors in gorilla suits with CGI faces. In any event, the creature looks fine for a straight-to-video flick. What were these complainers expecting -- "Juassic Park" quality? I like what they came up with.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: There's an overlong and meandering night sequence that starts near the 45-minute mark and lasts a full half hour, which is about 13 of the runtime (88 minutes). The problem with night sequences like this is that it's too hard to see what's going on, but they did a pretty good job with the lighting. Although this sequence is a negative it does add an air of horrific mystery.
During this shack scene Helen looks at the pictures on the digital camera that she retrieved from the body of one of the group members. It turns out that this person got a picture of one of the creatures before the beast fatally attacked. Helen and the professor passingly look at the picture with barely any interest while the others don't care to view it at all. Just think, this is the first clear photo of Bigfoot ever seen; and it's a terrifying shot. Don't you think they'd be more interested in the photo, especially the scientists? Like, "Whoa, so that's Sasquatch!" "That's the beast that's stalking and killing us!" "He really exists!" I suppose one could argue that they're more concerned with simply surviving and are likely in shock but, still, the scene is unbelievable.
FINAL ANALYSIS: The film is called "Sasquatch Hunters" not because the people are hunting Sasquatch but rather because Sasquatch is hunting THEM. Bigfoot here is not a gentle giant, he's an angry monster killing machine. This is actually one of the better Bigfoot films. The material is taken seriously, the cast is likable and believable, the women are attractive, the locations are great, the score is surprisingly classy (albeit too loudepic in a couple spots early on) and the adventure is fairly engaging.
"Sasquatch Hunters" is a picture filmed on spit, chewing gum and home-movie enthusiasm. Some would call it a guilty pleasure, others a piece of crap; I can't help but respect it.
Review by Wuchak from the Internet Movie Database.