Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The obnoxious crew of a paranormal reality show head out to a remote location and find more than they bargained for. In this case the crew of the surprise hit Sasquatch hunter show WILD MEN plan to shoot their entire second season on one location, an alleged hotbed of cryptid activity. Their quest for ratings history becomes a fight for survival when Bigfoot actually shows up.
Yeah, we’ve seen it a million times by now, but writer/director Bobby Sansivero’s film WILD MEN approaches the material with a dark and cynical sense of humor that skewers reality TV and found footage films. Brothers Richard “Dick” Hefelfinger (Zack Abramowitz) and Yappy (Alexander Stine), both of whom live up to their names, lead a crew that includes a skeptical scientist (Erin Anne MacDonald), an allegedly Native American tracker and total asshole of a director. Watching them set up interviews with alleged witnesses who are obviously delusional will get a laugh from anyone who’s sat through a second tier ghost hunter show. And the things they do to add excitement to the episodes, well I’m sure we’ve all suspected they were happening in real life.
In keeping with the reality show and found footage model, WILD MEN spends most of it’s time building up to a burst of action in the last act. And when it does the film switches up its tone a bit. While not losing it’s satirical edge it does become more serious, and more bloody. Some of the effects, including the Sasquatch suit are deliberately cheesy, but there’s some effective gore including and arm being ripped off that almost feels out of place after what’s come before it. The film does end on a very funny, and sadly believable, note.
A lot of credit has to be given to Sansivero and his cast. For such an inexperienced bunch they’ve pulled off a good looking and entertaining film on a very low budget. Parody of something like reality TV is hard to pull off because the subject itself is already over the top. L.A. SLASHER is a great example of a failed attempt at tweaking reality TV despite having a solid professional cast, these guys however nailed it.
WILD MEN is available on HULU and most other VOD and digital platforms.