There will come a time when we look back at the found footage run with either great appreciation or utter sadness. For most it will be the latter, but for some they will remember the true guerilla styled influence that allowed aspiring filmmakers with no budget an outlet. While the times are changing into a more viral display with things such as the “Slenderman” epidemic there are still a few FF films having their run. One of these is the bigfoot creature feature from Justin Steely, Hunting the Legend. If any subject in horror or science fiction can be fully exploited in this format then the case of bigfoot, sasquatch, or yeti is that subject.
Personally I have always been curious to what took so long for films like this to develop. Outside of ghost hauntings, searching for myths and legends should have been leading the subgenre since in a sense, looking for these creatures was our true first glimpse into found footage. From aliens to the Loch Ness Monster we all have one time in our life been presented with the notion that we are not alone. Unfortunately it’s the conspiracy theorists that live in the desert or mountain folk that have given us our accounts and to most..well... it’s just hard to believe.
Enter the story of Chris Copeland. As a young man he witnessed his father being taken away and killed by one of these creatures during a hunting trip. Since no one will believe him he takes it upon himself to see if the legend is true. Five years after the disappearance, presumed death of his dad, Chris searches for the creature with the help of his best friend Jeff Causey and girlfriend Hannah Wallace. Along with videographer (who happens to be the director) Justin Seeley with his audio guy Alex Ballew. The five of them embark on a journey through the woods of Alabama in search of this modern day legend and get a little more than they bargain for.
It’s imperative to mention that this is one of the few found footage films where the director is also in the film. That was very welcoming as usually the guys with the camera are just background fodder until the climax when they are perished (come on you guys know who these work by now). Another thing worth mentioning is this film is set in the south which reminded me tons of the classic yeti movie The Legend Of Boggy Creek. The film starts off like most with all the detailed accounts of sightings and back story then leads into a pilgrimage in the woods that is very reminiscent of the Godfather of found footage The Blair Witch Project. Similar to that iconic film as time goes by small things irritate the group but there is still much more to be desired. At a moment when things heat up and conflict arises is when things turn for the worse. Although jumbled in small moments its a very straight forward film. The issue is like most films of this caliber it’s just a little too late for it’s time. Not that it’s not entertaining by any means. The cast does a very good job of keeping you engaged, but only a handful of viewers will appreciate a group of kids arguing in the woods all day.
Hunting the Legend is short and sweet and has more of a documentary feel than most. With that being said its still hard not to believe the impact it could have achieved if it came out just five years earlier. Case in point if you are a fan of myths and legends then you will find this an entertaining ride. On the other hand if you are completely fed up and done with the found footage movement then this will be one you want to pass up on for sure.
Hunting the Legend is now available on DVD and Digital Download. It is directed and written by Justin Steeley and starring Christopher Copeland, Hannah Wallace, Jeff Causey, Alex Ballew, and Stan Copeland. It is being distributed courtesy of Image Entertainment.