Exists – 3 out of 5
It’s hard to make a horror film about Bigfoot. On paper it seems like it would work because a giant ape can be terrifying but the world of Bigfoot hunters and believers has sorta made the non-existent creature a joke. I’ve watch two other “found footage” horror films about Bigfoot in the past and neither of them were good…which is why it was strange that Exists was kinda okay.
|The missing bark is from Bigfoot scratching his ass.|
Brothers Brian (Chris Osborn) and Matt (Samuel Davis) steal their uncle’s keys to his remote cabin and bring their friends; Dora (Dora Madison), Todd (Roger Edwards) and Elizabeth (Denise Williamson), for a weekend of fun. However, on the way to the cabin they hit a creature on the side of the road and soon find themselves being hunted by a savage beast that aims to make sure they don’t make it out alive.
|This is what happens when you focus on pranks on the sleeping passenger.|
You end up hitting Bigfoot and the beast seeks revenge.
I went into Exists thinking it was going to be a terrible film. Number 1) it’s a “found footage” feature and most are those are extremely weak and churned out with little thought because they are so cheap and easy to make and Number 2) it’s a gee-dee horror film about Bigfoot. Those are really hard to take seriously. I’ve watched two of them and reviewed them here on my blog (you can see them here and here)—because in 2013 the fates smiled on us and gave the world two horrible “found footage” Bigfoot films. Neither one of the movies was any good. Both were almost excruciatingly bad. However, Exists somehow made one that was decent and that’s because, unlike the other two I’ve watched, it didn’t try to overcomplicate itself and kept the whole thing simple.
|Just throw Jack's Links at it and it will go away.|
Basically, Exists tells the tale of some college kids heading to a cabin for a weekend of partying and debauchery—and one of them wants to video everything because it is hinted that the guys like to BMX (as “found footage” films go, there’s worst explanations for the constant filming)—and, on their way they hit Bigfoot’s child. Naturally, Bigfoot is pissed and decides to take revenge but, first, kinda scopes them out to see what they are dealing with. I’m make a Messing with Sasquatch joke here but Bigfoot is kinda in the Right here. This premise, while simple, is effective at making Bigfoot threatening because the story is making the beast exactly what it is: A force of nature. Bigfoot is a wild animal and acting like a predatory and territorial beast that is rightfully pissed about its offspring being killed. While I won’t argue that Exists is scary in any way, this premise allowed for some decent thrills and a surprisingly good buildup to Bigfoot’s all-out tactical destruction of these friend.
|"Yes, all this was totally required for a weekend at the cabin and it is totally|
believable that a person would bring all this."
From an acting perspective, the film isn’t too bad. Too often “found footage” films are filled with sub-par actors and it really harms the overall product but Exists has a cast that is doing a great job. Granted, we’re not seeing much range from the performers beyond screaming and running for their lives but they feel like real college kids during the first act character establishment and their reactions to a giant beast with murder in its eyes is believable.
|Shit, Bigfoot has nightvision technology!|
The weaker element of the film comes in the form that it does feel like a thin premise that is stretched out too far. While the movie never got boring to me, it does start to feel repetitive as it enters the final act. This really isn’t surprising because how far can you really take a vengeful Bigfoot “found footage” film without feeling like you are seeing something repeating itself. It’s not like Bigfoot is Jason and is going to change up the kills by using different weapons. While this was a decent feature length film, this movie might have made an absolutely amazing short film.
|OH MY GOD! Bigfoot goes off the top rope!!!|
Exists isn’t a perfect film but still a surprisingly decent “found footage” movie that contains an unlikely antagonist. The cast is good, there are some decent jump scares and tense moments, the buildup to the carnage is excellently constructed and the ending is really solid. The premise is admittedly thin but the film proves it’s possible to make a horror film about Bigfoot and not automatically feel like a joke.