Sasquatch Sunset review | A vulgar, hairy comedy that fails to deliver its message

sasquatch sunset
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Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keogh don realistic sasquatch suits for Nathan and David Zellner’s eco-dramedy. Here’s our Sasquatch Sunset review. 

Many films have explored the possibility of giant, mythical creatures existing in the wild, from the comedic (Harry And The Hendersons, Abominable) to the horrific (Exists, Willow Creek).

In Sasquatch Sunset, directors (and brothers) Nathan and David Zellner point their camera towards the human-like, hairy and surprisingly gentle creatures. And while they aren’t real, the story manages to use these characters to explore some real insights about our relationship to nature. The film follows a four-strong sasquatch family over the course of one year as they roam the woods, but their lives are increasingly complicated by humans and the changing nature of… well, nature. 

The Zellners have put their actors, Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough and child actor Christophe Zajac-Denek, into realistic sasquatch costumes, while David Zellner completes the pack as the alpha sasquatch. The family communicates via grunts and gestures and the entire film is presented without dialogue. 

sasquatch sunset review
Credit: Icon Film Distribution

Sasquatch Sunset is weird and proudly so. While its approach might come across as experimental, this isn’t exactly high-brow cinema. There’s an awful lot of shagging, and a lot of the action is played for laughs, which undermines its heart somewhat.

Ultimately, this is a film about living things slowly and permanently being erased and human activity disrupting nature. The sasquatches often drum on trees in the hopes that another sasquatch family will respond, proving that they’re not alone. No such response is ever heard. The core of Sasquatch Sunset is strong and surprisingly tragic; it’s just not very delicately or precisely handled. 

It often feels like Sasquatch Sunset is more interested in being weird for weirdness’ sake rather than delivering a well-thought out story or fleshing out of its themes. All the ingredients are here, but the only thing you’ll probably remember walking out of the cinema is that you just watched a lot of sasquatch sex. 

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Kudos to the actors for committing to their untamed, animalistic characters, though. You can see their human emotions bubbling underneath the surface, in their eyes which are the only visible parts of the actors in their costumes. Most of the time, though, it’s hard to forget that these are just actors in elaborate and very hairy suits. 

If you’re able to look past the more crude elements, there’s real heart here. Sasquatch Sunset is a challenging film; the lack of dialogue often makes it feel much longer than it is, while its repetitive gags seem to be designed to shock more than anything. 

The Zellners can’t quite nail down their desired tone. Sasquatch Sunset mostly plays out like a feral version of American Pie, but the bones of the story are serious. The end result is a frustratingly muddled film that fails to impress. There’s ambition here, but Sasquatch Sunset is ultimately a film with a lot to say, but unable to communicate it. 

Sasquatch Sunset is in cinemas on the 14th June.

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