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A poster for the movie Exists
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Ben Nagy reviews ‘Exists’: Vehicular slaughter of juvenile Sasquatch leads to poor campout experience

We can’t do a round of woods flicks without getting the tall creature with the oversized tarsals involved, so to close out this month’s reviews, we’re due for a Bigfoot flick.

The number of flicks featuring Sasquatch I’ve looked at is well into the double digits, and we set forth the minimum requirements for a Bigfoot flick way back in 2021. In addition to the minimum drive-in flick requirements of blood, breasts and a (self-explanatory) beast, a Bigfoot flick needs to have at least one shot of Bigfoot’s footprint, and Bigfoot needs to flip over a vehicle as set forth by the groundbreaking 1970s prime-time classic episode of the Six Million Dollar Man featuring Andre the Giant.

Now, director Eduardo Sanchez might not be a household name to all except the really hardcore horror fan, but about a quarter-century ago, he changed the horror flick for all time by dusting off the formula established by Cannibal Holocaust and doing The Blair Witch Project.

Blair Witch made a metric ton of money, becoming one of the top 10 highest-grossing independent flicks at the time and one of the most lucrative ever with just a $40,000 budget. It also inspired a major wave of found-footage style horror flicks that continues to this day.

Filmed on location at a scout camp in Bastrop, Texas, Sanchez’s 2014 melding of the Bigfoot flick Exists has a bit of a found-footage element. To accommodate, one character, Brian (Chris Osborn), is a pothead goofball with ambitions to get his videos on TV once he finds out they might be in Sasquatch Country and always carries around a camera.

Anyway, he and four other people (you can tell it’s a cabin movie because there’s five of em) are on a stealth road trip to an uncle’s hunting lodge when they hit a Bigfoot with their car, but it’s dark, they don’t know what they hit, don’t find a body and hear some weird screeching noises.

Bigfoot looms over a potential victim in "Exists." (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)
Bigfoot looms over a potential victim in “Exists.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

In addition to Brian, the cast of characters is Brian’s brother, Matt (Samuel Davis, the 2016 Cabin Fever, Machete Kills), Todd (Roger Edwards), Todd’s girlfriend Lizzie (Denise Williamson, Maggie, Boggy Creek) and Dora (Dora Madison Burge, Bliss, VFW).

When they finally make it to the cabin (they can’t drive all the way to it because of a downed tree), they find a wild pig in the cabin, so they rationally decide to sleep in the SUV. Eventually, the wild pig is evacuated and they can get settled in.

To fill time and get some more first-person footage, they do some mountain bike stunts by jumping a ramp into the river, but then Brian encounters the creature during the day while he’s shooting footage of Todd and Lizzie making out, but nobody believes what he saw (the Bigfoot, not the making out).

During the night, Bigfoot trashes their SUV, leaving them stranded and sweating the insurance ramifications. Matt, in addition to needing to file a claim for Sasquatch damage, volunteers to try to get help by biking (complete with helmet-mounted GoPro) to a place where he can get phone reception and this results in a tense mountain bike vs. Bigfoot race.

Lending to the drive-in authenticity of the flick, Sanchez worked in a Lone Star beer sighting, and …

Ben's Bloody Best

Best Prank: Lizzie sets Brian’s beard on fire while he’s sleeping.

Best Break: Matt wipes out on his mountain bike and gets a compound fracture of his tibia.

Best Delusions: Brian, who says “This is going to be ‘Alien Autopsy’ huge.” and “Hello, Mr. Sasquatch, I just want to be friends.” and “There’s no credible documentation of a Sasquatch attack.”

Best Display of Dominance: Bigfoot chucks Matt’s mountain bike at the cabin to show his displeasure.

Best Display of Naivety: After he gets a shotgun, Todd (Roger Edwards) justifies him being the designated carrier of the gun by saying, “I play paintball. How different can it be?”

Best Long-range Battle for Tactical Superiority: Todd and his shotgun vs. Bigfoot chucking rocks as the humans shelter underneath a footbridge.

Best Display of Brotherly Love: Armed with a single shell and the shotgun, Brian goes into a Bigfoot hideyhole to save the wounded Matt.

Bigfoot prepares his second bout of vehicular vandalism by chucking a camper trailer off a cliff in "Exists." (Screen capture by reviewer Ben Nagy)
Bigfoot prepares his second bout of vehicular vandalism by chucking a camper trailer off a cliff in “Exists.” (Screen capture by reviewer Ben Nagy)

Best Hope Your Policy Has a Low Deductible: Bigfoot not only destroys the SUV the young folks arrived in, but he also chucks a camper trailer down a cliffside, which leads to a great perspective shot of the interior of the camper as it’s rolling down the hill.

The perspective gets a little bit weird with the switching needed to work the found footage aspect in and the regular third-person camera work, causing Brian to hold on to the camera even when one of his companions is getting yanked around by Bigfoot. However, those two crucial elements necessary for a Bigfoot flick, a footprint shot and a vehicle getting flipped over, are present, so we can’t be too harsh on this one, contrivances aside.

Brian draws attention to the Bigfoot print he found in the woods in "Exists." (Screen capture by reviewer Ben Nagy)
Brian draws attention to the Bigfoot print he found in the woods in “Exists.” (Screen capture by reviewer Ben Nagy)

Three stars.

Exists breaks into the Top 3 best all-time Bigfoot flicks I’ve reviewed at Number 3.

  1. Night of the Demon
  2. Cherokee Creek
  3. Exists
  4. Interviewing Monsters and Bigfoot
  5. (or 10, depending on how forgiving you are) Suburban Sasquatch
  6. Bigfoot Wars
  7. Big Legend
  8. Monstrous
  9. The Big F
  10. Taku-He

Check Exists out on TubiTV, Pluto, Roku or on physical media.

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