Despite the nearly endless amount of monsters practically begging to be adapted to film, the wild world of cryptozoology remains a criminally underused source of inspiration for horror movies. While a few lucky cryptids have become ingrained in popular culture over the years, none have graced the silver screen as often (or as prominently) as the Big Man himself. The latest of these Sasquatch flicks is Justin Lee’s Big Legend, a surprisingly compelling survival story with more than a few surprises up its sleeve.
Big Legend stars Kevin Makely as Tyler Laird, a man haunted by the tragic disappearance of his fiancé during a camping trip. After a year in psychiatric care, Tyler returns to the woods that claimed the love of his life, hell-bent on finding the monstrous creature responsible. As he ventures through the mysterious beast’s territory, his suspicions that what he experienced was no mere animal attack are confirmed in the most gruesome way imaginable.
The film also features a brief but lovable performance by Adrienne Barbeau as Tyler’s mother, not to mention Todd A. Robinson as a quirky hunter/Bigfoot enthusiast, but the majority of the picture dwells on Makely’s interaction with the Pacific Northwest wilderness and the secrets that lurk within. The limited amount of characters and lonely backdrop make this a more intimate and contained ordeal when compared to most Bigfoot movies, while also focusing on the inherent solitude of Tyler’s journey and struggle for survival.
Luckily for us, Makely does a great job of carrying the film through these lonely sequences, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for Tyler after all he’s been through. The dialogue occasionally feels forced and the overall script could have used some more polish, but it’s still an entertaining experience.
That being said, there is a certain aura of cheapness permeating Big Legend, with nearly every element of the film feeling slightly rough around the edges. This is obviously a result of the limited budget, but I feel that many of these issues could have been avoided by beefing up the art direction and trimming some hammy lines from the script. Bigfoot himself also looks very mundane, but there are only so many ways you can depict a bipedal ape on film without straying too far from eyewitness accounts, so I can’t quite blame the filmmakers for that.
While the movie is a self-contained story with a clear beginning, middle and end, the final scene serves as a bizarre form of sequel bait that I would have despised had it shown up in any other movie. However, considering how earnestly this small film presented its plans for a franchise, I can’t help but feel excited about what comes next, despite how out-of-place this particular scene feels.
Overall, Big Legend is a highly entertaining survival flick that mostly works well within its budgetary constraints. While the movie is admittedly lacking in polish, it’s easy to look past that once you consider the charming and heartfelt nature of the production. It’s not exactly the best Bigfoot movie out there, but it’s certainly worth a watch if you’re up for an atmospheric tale of love, loss and Sasquatch.
Big Legend premiered at the 2018 Portland Horror Film Festival on June 13th, and will hit VOD on July 3rd!