– By LastBoneStands
As some of you may know, I’m the co-host of The What Cast, a podcast where we discuss the weird and paranormal. UFOs and cryptids (Bigfoot, Nessie, etc.) are kind of my bread and butter. So, it came as a great joy to me when I was given the opportunity to view Dallas Morgan’s 2017 film, Sightings.
On the last night before his retirement, skeptical Sherriff Tom Mayfield (Boo Arnold) is called to investigate a sighting of a massive, hairy ape-like creature. After finding nothing unusual, he heads home to relax and call it a career. As everyone knows, if you’ve got a character in a film that is about to retire, things are not going to go smoothly for him. Tom is no exception, as the next day he finds 3 dead bodies on his property with surgical cuts along their abdomen and missing organs. The grisly discovery opens up a murder investigation, with Tom as the main suspect. While the police are trying to solve the murder, Tom’s brother-in-law Rickey (Rawn Erickson) and his daughter, Hannah (Tahlia Morgan), try to convince him that there is something dangerous lurking in the woods that is not quite animal and not quite human.
Sightings is not so much a sci-fi or horror film as it is a mystery thriller. There isn’t much in the way of scares or gore, but we are given a great story that is very character driven. The acting among the cast was believable and relatable. Boo Arnold as Tom played his role of skeptical, aging authority figure perfectly. Rawn Erickson was able to portray the role of a Bigfoot enthusiast well, without slipping into the cliché of over-the-top backwoods yokel that you’d typically see presented in this sort of role. He displays genuine concern for his family with a desire to protect them and displays a wide emotional range.
The film’s budget was definitely on the lower side of things, but due to some slick camera work, and plotting, this isn’t even noticeable. The creature effects are mostly limited to sounds and the occasional hairy set of massive feet or hands. The creature is never in full-view, and keeping the shot limited to body parts adds to the mystery behind the creature in addition to masking the fact that it’s a guy in an ape suit (presumably).
There were a few minor issues that bothered me, centering on the logic while hunting the creature. At one point we are led to believe that if you go out looking for this thing, especially if you’re armed or intend to harm it, it will react aggressively. Later we are told by an investigating cryptozoologist, Rebecca Otis (Stephanie Drapeau), that the best way to get to the beast without causing a reaction is to go into the woods and find it.
This minor gripe aside, Sightings is a very solid addition to the Bigfoot sub-genre. There are some very interesting ideas that are put forth here, and with the added twist surrounding the creature’s origins, I could see a sequel being made that would expand the scope beyond a rural Texas ranch.