Morgan Matthews kicks off his documentary, Shooting Bigfoot, by explaining that for many years he was intrigued by the possibility that Bigfoot may really exist. Considering the title of the documentary, that’s no big surprise. He then explains that he began to believe less and less in the possibility of the creature and that this documentary is a chance to follow some people who still believe in an attempt to rekindle his own passion for this enduring legend of cryptozoology.
Morgan meets up, and tags along, with three different types of Bigfoot enthusiasts. There’s the entertaining duo of Dallas Gilbert and Wayne Burton, a pair of elderly good ol’ boys who have spent years spotting and researching numerous Bigfoot creatures in their local area. There’s Tom Biscardi, possibly the most famous of the Bigfoot hunters, a man who has some serious equipment at his disposal, even if it never seems to capture irrefutable evidence. Last, but by no means least, there is Rick Dyer. Rick has rebranded himself as a master Bigfoot tracker after an incident a few years previously in which he and a friend faked a Bigfoot corpse and got themselves a nice bit of media coverage at the time.
Morgan goes along with these characters on three separate trips to find Bigfoot, filming all the while and revealing plenty about the people he is accompanying. Thankfully, he’s not afraid to voice any thoughts that may upset the likes of Biscardi or Dyer, and he does so quite often. He also can’t resist the chance to create more comedy gold from the situation when someone phrases something as badly as Rick Dyer does when he claims to have placed some meat on a branch so firmly that it could only have been jerked off. Oh, it might be a cheap gag, but it’s funny (funnier because Dyer doesn’t seem to notice the gentle mockery at that point).
Although there are only four main characters featured onscreen here (with a few others making small, but memorable, appearances), they all differ in a number of ways. Dallas and Wayne may seem to be a bit . . . . . . . . . . daffy, but they’re also quite sweet, for the most part, and certainly not harming anyone or looking to make their fame and fortune from their long-time hobby. Okay, they might be looking for a bit of fame and fortune, but only IF they ever capture a creature that only they ever seem to be able to spot. Tom Biscardi, on the other hand, has made his living off Bigfoot for many years, and has sold a number of DVDs because of it, and wants to keep a high profile. He has a strong, turbulent personality and can sometimes laughs his head off for minutes at a time or take offence at a relatively harmless comment and demand that the camera is switched off. Rick Dyer is, let’s not beat about the bush here, someone who comes across as a total douchebag. A man who throws a loaded gun to the ground when asked by Morgan to be careful with the gun. A man who snaps back at every observation made by the filmmaker. A man who stumbles around the woods at night with a loaded gun and flashlight, despite being asked not to shoot at anything in case there’s a person wandering around in the darkness. And there’s more, but I won’t spoil any surprises.
Jumping between the three different excursions, Shooting Bigfoot is never dull. After some wonderful, animated opening titles, the camerawork is as you’d expect – hey, you’re in the wrong place for fluid Steadicam – and the view all comes from Mr. Matthews and his camera. But just how much he prepared and how much just happened is something to think about long after the end credits roll.
DIRECTOR: MORGAN MATTHEWS
STARS: C. THOMAS BISCARDI, RICK DYER, WAYNE BURTON, DALLAS GILBERT, MORGAN MATTHEWS
RUNTIME: 90 MINS APPROX