I’m not really sure how to classify this one, to be honest — writer/director/producer Ryan Cavalline’s 2017 no-budgeter Mountain Devil (now streaming on Amazon Prime) isn’t exactly a “found footage” flick so much as it is a “mockumentary,” which is to say, yeah, there’s plenty of phony “footage” of the “long-lost home movie” variety, but it’s also “supplemented” by “dramatized re-creations” and the whole package is “hosted” by some charisma-free zone named Duane Bradley — who, near as I can tell, isn’t an actor, but a real guy. Or maybe he’s just a real guy who’s never taken any acting lessons. I dunno.
Nor, frankly, does it really matter. Apparently this standard-issue Bigfoot yarn about a guy named Frank Peterson (played by Eddie Benevich) and his pal, Randy Wallis (Eric Koval), who decided to spend a weekend getting drunk and playing with firearms at a secluded cabin along the Appalachian Trail in BF, Pennsylvania is “true” — at least as far as the average “Squatcher” is concerned. But just because something (may have) happened, that doesn’t make it particularly interesting.
Under normal circumstances, a more detailed breakdown of the particulars of the film’s plot would be in order here, but ya know what? I’ve honestly told you pretty much all you need to know already. One weekend in 1978 (if I remember correctly), a couple rednecks went to a cabin and got set upon by Bigfoot. Who, in this film, is only about — I dunno, six feet tall. And rented his costume from the local theatrical supply shop, who no doubt keep this one around for promos at the used car lots around town, where, truth be told, it’s probably put to better use — because there’s nothing even remotely good about this 80-minute celluloid abomination. It’s boring, it’s cheesy (without being “fun” cheesy), it’s dreadfully-acted, and it’s utterly devoid of drama, scares, suspense, or even purpose. Every second you spend watching it is a new opportunity to hate yourself for wasting your time on it and little (okay, nothing) more.
Here’s the friggin’ goofy thing, though — in recent years, “found footage” and Bigfoot have sorta mashed together pretty nicely, haven’t they? Movies like Willow Creek and Bigfoot : The Lost Coast Tapes have done an admirable job of proving that these two genres go hand in furry, clawed hand really well. So I held out some faint hope that Cavalline might be able to continue that trend — but hey, what can I say? I was wrong. Painfully wrong. I might even go so far as to say dead wrong — but that would be a bit tasteless given the final fate that befell Peterson and Wallis.
In any case, the least I can do is warn you good people off this thing. Before sitting down to write this review, I reached really deep into the most musty and under-utilized parts of my mind in order to come up with some reason — any reason — for perhaps the more morbidly curious among you to give it a go, and came up absolutely empty. I tried, I swear, but the task proved just too daunting for me.
And that probably tells you all you need to know right there — and certainly exhausts me of everything I wish to say about the matter. Mountain Devil made me want to run for the hills and never come back.