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April 19, 2024 / levelFILM

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Lars Knudsen, George Rush, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Tyler Campellone, David Harrari

Directed By: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

In the misty forests of North America, a family of Sasquatches—possibly the last of their enigmatic kind— embark on an absurdist, epic, hilarious, and ultimately poignant journey over the course of one year. These shaggy and noble giants fight for survival as they find themselves on a collision course with the ever-changing world around them.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 1.5 out of 5

Sasquatch Sunset boasts impressive direction and artistic decisions that makes this story about a family of sasquatches play out like a nature documentary that is a sensory delight, but the insistence to fill the film with outrageous and disgusting moments truly makes it a misfire.

Without question, Sasquatch Sunset looks absolutely beautiful. The cinematography and way the story is told makes it feel like a nature documentary, capturing the sasquatches in their natural habitat that truly make you feel like these creatures are more than just the focus of local legends. The musical score creates a cerebral atmosphere to the film, evoking a pensive mood within viewers as the themes of deforestation and human interactions with nature ring clearly throughout. Make-up and prosthetics are used to turn the cast into sasquatches, and the work is nothing short of incredible, causing each actor to be unrecognizable. As an overall visual experience, the film poignantly frames a year in the life of our subject sasquatch family, delivering a breathtaking vision that is both serene and beautiful to watch.

But… sadly, this is only half of the experience of Sasquatch Sunset. Almost every time the film reaches a truly beautiful or emotional moment, it quickly becomes the exact opposite of that. Viewers are treated to sasquatch sex, vomiting, explosive diarrhea, endless grunting and even a shot of a Sasquatch’s private part during childbirth just to name a few shocking images you never expected to see caught on camera (as there are too many to name). It comes off as a juvenile attempt at comedy, instantly cheapening the incredible visual experience of the film and the heart of the story. The result is that the film feels like a mockumentary at times, instantly negating any emotionally strong moments in the lives of our family of sasquatches, which drastically changes its tone. Quickly, the film becomes simultaneously laughable and gross, but not in a good way; but in a way that is certain to divide audiences. It is either going to be a film that audiences appreciate for being different and out there, or will rub them the wrong way for being childish and full of bathroom humour. Personally speaking, this juvenile tone destroyed the film, reducing the strong artistic choices made in its direction for no other reason than to push the envelope. It will be up to viewers to decide whether they like what the screenplay does with its humour, but it's not a stretch to say that Sasquatch Sunset is one of the most bizarre films you will ever experience, that despite its ambitions, is destined to be one of my least favourite titles of the year. Not even fully committed performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough could turn this film around.

There are always films where you can appreciate the technical craft of the filmmaking team, as they have captured something visually stunning on camera, but will leave you questioning why the film ever got made. Sasquatch Sunset not only easily does that, but does so in a way that will make you want to gag because of what you have seen in this film because you cannot unsee it. Despite the incredible visual experience that makes this story about sasquatches feel like a nature documentary, the insistence of populating the film with excessive filth guarantees that viewers are going to be not only puzzled by the bewildering experience that is Sasquatch Sunset, but will leave them divided as to whether the film is brilliant or downright disgusting.

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