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SXSW Review: “Sasquatch” Is a Monster-Hunt Docuseries That Showcases the Intriguing, but Sometimes Frustrating, Aspects of Investigative Journalism

Written by: Matt Patti | March 24th, 2021

Series poster: “Sasquatch”

Sasquatch (Joshua Rofé, 2021) 2½ out of 4 stars.

The potential existence of a Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, is a centuries-old conundrum on which many people have fixated their time, or even most of their lives, to solve. There have been countless movies, TV shows, documentaries and docuseries on the legendary creature involving alleged sightings and mysterious footage. However, few of these dive into the idea of a Sasquatch being linked to murder. Hulu’s new docuseries Sasquatchexplores just that. Investigative journalist David Holthouse has spent most of his life studying violent people and “monsters,” both mythical and those real-life humans who fit the description. While working on a cannabis farm in Mendocino County in Northern California back in the summer of 1993, he overheard a conversation between two field workers who found the dead bodies of three Mexican workers in a field, mutilated and almost unrecognizable, as if torn apart by a large creature. They claimed to have seen large footprints in the dirt and were convinced that Bigfoot had killed the men. This experience stuck with David for most of his life, and even now he’s still baffled by it. In this docuseries, Bigfoot experts weigh in on the event, and David speaks with people around Mendocino County to see what they know in his attempt to solve a 25-year-old triple homicide.

This docuseries is different than many other Sasquatch explorations in the way that it focuses on one specific area and one specific case. While there is some general Sasquatch tales and footage featured, most of the series spends time on specific, individual interviews with people in and around Mendocino County and Spy Rock, where these three workers were found dead back in 1993. Each of the three episodes in the docuseries is a bit different. The first one mostly touches on David’s initial experience that prompted his investigation and general Bigfoot information, the second episode showcases the history of the region, and the third hones in on the personal, individual interviews of people living in the area. Each episode has its own tone and different feel to it, which at first is a bit jarring but by the final episode makes complete sense.

David Holthouse in SASQUATCH ©Hulu

Sasquatch does a great job capturing all aspects of investigative journalism through David, including the process of finding contacts, the excitement of obtaining new information, and the frustration and disappointment of potential leads that end up going nowhere. The annoyances David faces in his journey trickle down to the viewer, as well, as the series seems to unfortunately go in circles for most of the run time. It goes off track quite a bit, too, specifically in Episode 2 where it follows a few tangents that have almost nothing to do with the main through line. It is also very apparent that David doesn’t have much hard evidence other than personal testimony, which the film acknowledges (the title of the first episode is “Grasping at Smoke”), but is still a bit disappointing to the audience. The show also reuses much of the same graphics and visuals throughout the series, which gets stale.

The one other aspect that is a bit dissatisfying is the name of the show, Sasquatch. I’d argue it’s a bit of a misleading title, as yes, Sasquatch is a prominent centerpiece in the series, but the show also explores so many other aspects of the surrounding area and other potential causes of the murders that it can feel like you’re watching a crime documentary. I think the title is purposely that vague and specific, though, to draw the audience in and then surprise them with some of the other findings, which does work, specifically near the end. But, for the first two episodes, at least, it appears to the audience that the show can get completely off-track when in reality it is setting us up for what is a very compelling final episode.

Still from SASQUATCH ©Hulu

Overall, Sasquatch is a very different mystery docuseries that will surprise many viewers with its twists and turns, although it may frustrate some, too. However, if you look upon this show as an experience in investigative journalism and go along for the roller-coaster ride of different evidence and contrasting interviews, you will appreciate it. To learn what these documentarians, investigators and journalists go through in their attempts to seek and gather information is quite captivating, and David is almost fearless in his pursuit of the truth. The age-old question of a Sasquatch’s existence may still be up in the air, but by the end of this series, David has made up his own mind on the matter.

[Sasquatch premieres on Hulu on April 20, 2021.]

Still from SASQUATCH ©Hulu

Matt Patti has enjoyed voicing his opinions on films from a young age. He has lived in the Baltimore, Maryland, area since 2015 and is a graduate of Stevenson University’s Film & Moving Image program. Matt is currently back at Stevenson University, working as the School of Design, Arts, and Communication's Studio Manager.

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