Hunting The Legend (2014)

REVIEW BY: Bobby Lepire

In 2008, a deer hunter was taken by something in the Alabama woods. Only his rifle, blood and a 16" footprint were left behind... Five years later, his son seeks revenge.

REVIEW: Hunting The Legend is able to set itself apart from regular Found Footage fare a little bit by setting itself up as an actual documentary (I hesitate to use the term mockumentary, as I believe that would imply a silliness that's  not found here). I know that sounds odd, given that other movies, including the most famous Found Footage movie of all time, The Blair Witch Project, did that exact same thing, but within the genre as of late with the likes of Frankenstein's Army (not bad, but probably would have been better if it wasn't of the Found Footage style), Chronicle (lots of fun), and even Cloverfield (a blast), that just ape the style, without presenting any sort full narrative thread. That thread - the making of a documentary about the Sasquatch in the filmmakers' woods - does give it a refreshing feel to the whole overdone affair. 

It's just too bad that not much else here feels that original or engaging.

But first, let me get the rest of the positives out of the way. Our trio of characters, all playing fictional versions of themselves - Christopher Copeland, Hannah Wallace, Jeff Causey, and their camera operator Justin Steeley (who is also the writer and director of this movie) - all give natural and believable performances, with their friendship from growing up together coming through in spades. This is one of the only things to keep the audience engaged but it does such quite well. Most of the supporting cast comes off as equally at ease on camera, which is a pleasant bonus. However, this unfortunately excludes the biggest supporting role, the Man In The Cabin, as portrayed by Stan Copeland. He's this cranky old geezer, warning the kids about what they're doing (so in other words, just a bad stereotype), and Copeland never comes off as scary as he's meant to be in his introduction, nor kooky enough to have the audience questioning if what he is saying is truth or not. He's just there, spewing random lines, failing to make any kind of impression at all. 

The lighting and cinematography, as far as Found Footage films go, are quite well done, with some great use of headlamps, and the camera's forced POV perspective does give a scene or two some genuine tension. The audio design is better than even that, as it is nicely subtle, never getting too loud or ambitious, and lets the sounds in the dark mess with our heads.

Unfortunately, Steeley doesn't have much grasp in how to let a scene play out. Most of the scenes in the movie just sort of come in, and then fade out, without any sort of build-up or forward momentum. For example, one of the three leads gets separated, and the other two are calling out his name, looking for him; a few minutes later they find him next to their dog, explaining how he just got a little lost. No mention of seeing something weird, or jump scare once all three are reunited, just nothing happens at all, which made that series of scenes pretty pointless. And having an occasional one or two scenes like that is fine, but the whole movie pretty much plays out this way - just one scene, going to another, with nothing at all really happening happening. This causes the whole movie to be quite a bore to watch and a chore to sit through.

To top it all off, it's not even worth it to sit through all those pointless scenes since, come the end, we get virtually no Bigfoot action whatsoever, or even the hint of such a thing, so again, it was just all so pointless. Say what you will about The Blair Witch Project or the phenomenal Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes, but even when you couldn't see the action in those, you could see or hear its effects on the cast of characters. But here, we don't even get that luxury.

Within the realm of recent Found Footage movies, this pales in comparison to most (Earth To Echo is bloody brilliant), and in the wake of a lot of recent Bigfoot movies, it too fails to impress much. Which is sad, as Justin Steeley seems like a pretty competent director, but as a writer he's terribly cliche-orientated and can't produce any thrills.

5/10 Rooms in the Psych Ward


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