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DIRECTED BY: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

FEATURING: , Christophe Zajac-Denek, , Nathan Zellner

PLOT: A fictional nature documentary following a family of four (at first) Sasquatch trying to survive in the Pacific Northwest.

Still from Sasquatch Sunset (2024)

COMMENTS: Sasquatch Sunset has to think up some creative solutions to overcome the central problem of the premise, which is: it’s absolutely nuts. It’s a vignette-based, documentary-style work of imaginary anthropology about a mythical subspecies, starring a couple of famous actors who are unrecognizable in their Bigfoot fursuits, liberally spattered with sex and scatology. The fact that such an noncommercial property was able to get greenlit is a testament to the pull of “name” producers like and Jesse Eisenberg. The fact that it is an unlikely success is a credit to the talents of the Zellner brothers, who continue to push the oddball envelope after the cult success of their supernatural TV satire “The Curse.”

Sasquatch Sunset‘s chief gambit to keep you watching is to pepper its Animal Planet-esque scenes of a quartet of Bigfeet foraging for food and shelter with comedy—particularly, grossout comedy. There’s a Sasquatch sex scene in the first fifteen minutes, a bit of slapstick with a turtle who gets treated like a cellphone, skunk sniffing, and so on. You learn more about the Sasquatch reproductive system than you would ever want to know, capped by an unforgettable use for Bigfoot placenta. Perhaps the grossest and most absurd scene occurs when the family discovers a logging road, which disorients them so much with its unnatural regularity that they break into spastic gibbering fits and spontaneously evacuate all over themselves (including shock lactation.) Between these moments, you drink in the natural beauty of Pacific Northwest logging country, with its majestic redwoods, and try to count the infinite stars (along with one Bigfoot who can’t count past “ugh.”)

While the movie is entertaining you in its unpredictable way, it is also sneaking in empathy for its subjects—and making you wonder just how human they are. The beasts have humanizing traits and a sense of natural curiosity; the youngest even has an imaginary friend. Be prepared for family members to pass away, in grotesque and painful ways, and new ones to join the clam, at less than replacement rate. And, although no humans are seen (we are apparently as mythical to Bigfeet as they are to us), evidence of our presence sneaks in frequently; the mere sight of a red “X” on a sawed-down redwood confuses the anthropods, but raises alarm in us viewers. Several times, the Sasquatch family enacts a strange branch-banging ritual that suggests that they are more intellectually developed than they seem, and which may have a wistful significance.

The obvious precursors for Sasquatch Sunset are two works by Jean-Jacques Annaud: the prehistoric Quest for Fire (1981) and the ursine bildungsroman The Bear (1988). Both are fictional features set in primeval landscapes; the first uses a fake language of mostly caveman grunts, and the second has no dialogue at all. It’s a specialized subgenre, but one that was overdue for a revival. Scatological comedy was an unexpected addition to the formula, but one which makes intuitive sense; these pseudo-humans don’t share our bathroom taboos. But, as the melancholy title and odd ending makes clear, this story is a tragedy, not a comedy. At the end, the survivors stand in a world that’s not their own. They are the end of the line, their numbers are unsustainable, and their morphology is soon to become nothing more than an iconic curio suitable only for a roadside attraction.

One note: a lot of cinemas reported walkouts during screenings: often the sign of a weird movie, but in this case maybe the sign of a gross movie. This was not the case when I watched it, as I was the only one in the theater.


“Consistently weird and frequently wonderful, ‘Sasquatch Sunset’ uses its high-concept premise to consider a host of themes: collective living, coexistence with nature, longing stirred by seclusion.”–Natalia Winkelman, The Boston Globe (contemporaneous)

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