Coming Soon - Hoax (2019) - Reviewed

Bigfoot horror films are a subgenre that has consistently grown over the last several decades, including The Legend of Boggy Creek, Exists, Willow Creek, and last year's practical gore effects bonanza Primal Rage.  Writer/Director Matt Allen's directorial feature debut Hoax, builds upon various predecessors to deliver a surprisingly tense low budget thriller.  Featuring a cohesive ensemble performance, an unforgettable score, and a downright nasty finale, this is a future cult classic waiting to be discovered. 

A group of teens is murdered in the Colorado wilderness, believed to have been slaughtered by the legendary Sasquatch.  An opportunistic television producer assembles a crew to enter the forest and search for a possible survivor, while also attempting to find irrefutable proof of the creature's existence.  Allen and Scott Park's script blends genre clich├ęs with unexpected character depth.  While each of the primaries are archetypes of their horror movie roles, they also have interesting flaws and motivations.  This is one of Hoax's strongest attributes: It knows exactly what kind of picture it is and embraces its B movie roots, something which ultimately gives it the freedom to stand ahead of its forgettable brethren. Particularly during the third act, where the story takes an extreme turn, the viewer is already connected to the characters, so a shocking, and sudden change of stakes is not only welcomed, but stressful.  While there are the usual suspects in a film such as this, everything is forgivable due to the coalescence of so many positive aspects.

The most important piece of the film is Alan Howarth's Carpenter-esque score.  One can't help but to think of The Thing, something that clearly inspired much of this production.  In virtually every scene of terror or suspense, it is Howarth's ominous tones that dominate the senses, allowing budgetary constraints to slide through the subconscious without incident.  This couples with William Munn’s gruesome makeup effects to deliver the perfect Friday night horror experience, particularly in the final act, whose homage to one of antediluvians of the genre is both unsettling and memorable.  Whether the creature is real is only a third of the bloody enigma that Allen weaves into the optics, with cinematographer Park's potent visuals blending found footage ambiance with slasher film chase sequences.  

Coming soon to digital on demand, Hoax is pure euphoria for horror fans who enjoy gory kill sequences, above board throwaway characters, and a genuine sense of disquiet that runs throughout.  Some hilarious and heartfelt performances (particularly by Brian Thompson from Kindred: The Embraced) meld with an absolutely insane denouement to deliver a brutal and merciless good time.  

--Kyle Jonathan