Sasquatch Sunset Review

Sasquatch Sunset will be a hard sell for most, but it’s weird and kind of charming in its own peculiar way.

PLOT: A year in the life of a family of Sasquatch, as they forage for food, hook up, and narrowly avoid civilization.

REVIEW: Sasquatch Sunset is unique; I’ll give it that. David and Nathan Zellner’s film has two big stars in the leads – Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough – but covers them in enough prosthetics to make them completely unrecognizable. The film doesn’t contain a single line of dialogue. Indeed, the whole movie is in grunts and yells because…well… they’re Sasquatch! 

While some may find the very idea of this movie tedious, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Sasquatch Sunset. The Zellner Brothers have a unique voice, as depicted in Damsel and Kumiko the Treasure Hunter. It’s weird to say that a movie with no dialogue or humans could actually be considered their most accessible movie to date – but it’s true. This movie is surprisingly cute and ends before the premise wears out its welcome.

In it, we follow a Sasquatch family consisting of two males (Nathan Zellner and Jesse Eisenberg), a female (Riley Keough) and a child (Christoph Zajek-Denek). Zellner plays the older, more dominant male, albeit the one that’s less favoured by the female both male Sasquatch want to be with. It’s never really clear who the father of Zajek-Denek’s character is. It takes place over a year, as the family roams the Pacific Northwest and narrowly avoids civilization. As the film goes on, nature and the unpredictable hand of fate prove to be their greatest adversary, as the power dynamics constantly shift as tragedy strikes.

Sasquatch Sunset

The entire cast is heavily buried under prosthetics, which are so good that I honestly couldn’t tell apart Zellner and Eisenberg’s characters until about twenty minutes into the film. It’s a lot funnier than the premise suggests, with the mating rituals, random aggression and near-misses with civilization being quite amusing. But the film also gets downright tragic at times, with a standout scene involving a log in a dam that’s highly reminiscent of a classic sequence from the Paul Newman movie Sometimes a Great Notion

The film also has a surreal, evocative score by The Octopus Project, which pays homage to one of the Zellner Bros chief inspirations, the old Leonard Nimoy “In Search of” conspiracy theory show – where Bigfoot was a favorite topic.

It’s hard to rate the movie’s performances, but I’ll say this – both Keough and Eisenberg are fearless. Keough especially has a scene where she takes a dump in the middle of the road which eschews any sense of vanity she might have as an actress. Physically, everyone involved delivers excellent performances, although for many viewers this might come off as a one-joke premise stretched too far. 

It’ll be interesting to see how Sasquatch Sunset is received when it comes out via Bleeker Street this April. It’s certainly too odd of a movie to ever connect with a mainstream audience, but if you have a tolerance for things that are “out there” you might actually find that you have a good time with this tale of the Bigfoot. 

sasquatch sunset review

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