The most chewed genre ever, that of found footage horror, has resulted in a new film: “Willow Creek” (2013). Still the stream of “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) clones has not dried up, and every year a film is released in which a group of people film themselves being culled by supernatural beings.
The success of “The Blair Witch Project” is of course also tempting for beginning film makers: with barely a budget, a forest as a backdrop and your friends who can play themselves, still score a mega hit. In addition, the large studios are also happy with a project with which you run no financial risk, but which can bring in millions.
As if the formula has to be followed to the letter for any chance of success, all films follow the exact same process: a group of people, for one reason or another, decide to film themselves while going to a place where something is wrong. In the beginning the characters are still cheerful and fearless, but then the evil reveals itself after which the fun is over and all, but also all, characters die. The latter is apparently crucial because the film / video / sound material must be found by third parties.
Still, it has to be said, no matter how hackneyed the formula is, most films in this genre are often really exciting. Probably because the found footage films remain true to the golden rule for scary films: “do not show the monster or only partially, so that the viewer has to use his imagination”. Aside from some piled-up rocks and branches and strange noises in the forest, we never got to see the Blair Witch in “The Blair Witch Project”. And when, at the very end, there was finally something scary showing, it wasn’t even a witch. “Willow Creek” does not deviate an inch from this pattern: a couple decides to film themselves while taking a look at the environment where Bigfoot was once said to have been captured on 8mm film. The rest is clear if you have read the above carefully.
And yet, it must be said again, “Willow Creek” is an amusing movie with credible play from the two protagonists. Director Bobcat Goldthwait takes a little more time for the run-up when everything is still peaceful and there is also a bit of laughter. At least this does not force the story towards the moment of horror. The highlight of the film is an 18-minute shot of the boy and girl waking up in their tent in the middle of the night and slowly but surely becoming more and more afraid of strange sounds in the forest. There is a moment in this scene when the light goes out for a moment and so there is a possibility for a cut, but nevertheless a great scene that is supported by the believable play of the actors and of course the soundtrack.
Anyone who has ever camped knows how scary it can be when you hear indefinable noises around your tent at night. Director Goldthwait makes use of this fact to the utmost and honors it. Too bad that after this he opts for the perfunctory end.