Written by: Adam Vaughn | May 7th, 2021
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot (#1 Will Blow Your Mind!) (Zach Lamplugh, 2019) 2 out of 4 stars.
Who can count the vast number of films that cover the mythology of Bigfoot? Various renditions, from horror movie villains to reclusive gentle giants, depict the legendary beast that may or may not inhabit our modern world. In Zach Lamplugh’s 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot (#1 Will Blow Your Mind!), we do in fact get a unique, comedic spin on the mythos, which holds our interest for some time. As 15 Things pushes through its exposition, however, we’re left with little hopes for a film with long-term quality and craft, instead getting more of a slapstick farce with clichéd story points and coincidental action.
15 Things tells the story of aspiring journalist and vlogger Brian Emond (as himself) in his endeavors to become a respectable and famous media journalist. As he is given dead-end after dead-end news stories, Brian finally settles for flying out to northern Georgia to follow a lead on the legend of Bigfoot. Guided by his humble but clumsy cryptological expert Jeff Stephenson (also playing himself), and accompanied by his cameraman and best friend Zach (the director), Brian finds himself intertwined with creatures lurking in the forest, both mythological and otherwise.
For me, it’s the “otherwise” elements of 15 Things’ storyline that really detach me from this film. Director Lamplugh starts with an intriguing premise, incorporating fairly funny main characters with a semi-thrilling concept of being stalked by “the Bigfoot.” While the comedy doesn’t stick throughout the film, and while the story arc gives off predictable vibes, 15 Things keeps itself lively with wit and charm, as our three heroes – Brian, Jeff, and Zach – stumble comically through the exposition and the climactic moments of the film.
About two-thirds into the movie, however, 15 Things introduces a drug cartel operating in the woods. This feels very abrupt and uninspired, contradicting Lamplugh’s pre-established feeling that Bigfoot is the ultimate antagonist. While the film tries to redeem this plot point by throwing the mythological beast in at the end, by the time we have sat through the cartel crime scenes, the interest in the original premise has fallen off.
While I do appreciate that 15 Things keeps a consistent slapstick mood going from start to finish, the content and actual story feel scrambled, confused and undetermined in where they want to go as a narrative. With all the potential it has to be a fun, lighthearted installment in the Bigfoot subgenre, it simply misses a bit of coherency and directorial choices to make it the best possible version of the story. I applaud the heart that went into making this film, but I had hoped it would come with more precise choices in its direction.