Reviewed: Shooting Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 2nd, 2013


Christopher Noël attended the premiere of Shooting Bigfoot in Toronto on April 30th.

He reviewed the film exclusively for Cryptomundo.

“Shooting Bigfoot”: Film Review by Christopher Noël

This is a distinctly mediocre film saddled with a non-ending. The ending fails regardless of the viewer’s standpoint on the existence of Sasquatch or Rick Dyer’s recent claims to have killed one in September of 2012.

Director Morgan Matthews sets out to draw a character study of four obsessed researchers and to chronicle their differing methods of hunting the ultimate quarry. But he establishes early on that his film represents a personal quest as well; when young, he was thrilled by the possibility of Bigfoot, a feeling that adulthood has dispelled. He now hopes that following these seekers might “rekindle my childhood belief.”

The introductory section of “Shooting Bigfoot” concludes with Morgan Matthews lying in a hospital bed after filming the last scene, his face all black and blue as a result of a dramatic encounter, his voice-over proclaiming that he is “just happy to get out of the woods alive.” This plot point now joins Matthews’ wish to “believe again,” thus promising the viewer two kinds of final pay-off, an anticipation that grows in the backs of our minds throughout, lending the film a latent emotional heft that it otherwise sorely lacks.

What becomes immediately clear is that the overriding mission of “Shooting Bigfoot” is to look down its nose at its subjects–to show these men in the worst possible light. Tom Biscardi has long been known in the Sasquatch research community as a monomaniacal con man. Rick Dyer as a hoaxer, roundly reviled, who since perpetrating the famous “Georgia hoax” has thrown all his financial and psychological resources into the effort to redeem himself, to deliver the historic dead specimen that he only pretended to possess in 2008. Not surprisingly–and not very interestingly–both men come off here true to form, Biscardi entirely absurd in his pretentious self-regard (none of his melodramatic pronouncements ever holds water), and Dyer stark naked in his bloodthirsty desperation to reinvent himself.

The other two featured players are Dallas and Wayne, Ohio researchers who seem genuinely lost in wonder, every bit as pure and naive as Biscardi and Dyer are calculating and ego-driven. But Matthews plays these guys for laughs as well, encouraging the viewer to cluck at their delusional, childlike fervor.

The laughs that “Shooting Bigfoot” does score are always at the expense of its four subjects, a tonal choice so narrowly condescending and simplistic that while it may garner, upon first viewing, mild amusement and a pleasurable sense of superiority in the audience, it holds little appeal for a second viewing.

This brings us to the film’s ending, which, if successful, could have redeemed the project to some extent. Forget about Biscardi and Dallas and Wayne; nothing happens there with any potential to lift their tales beyond the severe limits of Matthews’ storytelling approach. When it comes to Rick Dyer’s thread, however, something does happen, and suddenly.

He has located a forested site outside San Antonio where a few homeless people have reported seeing a male Sasquatch near their camps. Dyer attempts to lure the creature with pork ribs hung in a tree, and finally, one night, Matthews’ panicked voice can be heard calling, “Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick!” Dyer bursts out of his tent, rifle in hand, taking off in hot pursuit of whatever Matthews has heard, the director trailing behind, imploring Dyer not to shoot.

We catch two compelling glimpses of a Sasquatch-shaped figure walking away, and then we hear four gunshots, Matthews left whimpering alone in the dark. Next, the filmmaker is rushed and violently upended by someone or something whose face is momentarily visible on screen. The question is, of course, who or what attacked the filmmaker, sending him to the hospital?

Left: screenshot of face from film
Center: screenshot from camper/tent video
Right: artist rendering of camper/tent video subject
click on image for full size version

But instead of answering this question, Matthews chooses to obscure and avoid it in two ways: 1) by vaguely alluding to a legal dispute between himself and Rick Dyer having to do with footage shot on the night of the encounter and 2) by adding in a final voice-over (as he is flying home to England, face still badly bruised), “a viewer could reasonably conclude that I was attacked by someone in a suit.”

This logically contorted coda bends over backward to avoid taking a stand and left the audience at the film’s Toronto world premiere scratching their heads. Dyer’s explicit, public contention has been that, after being shot in the back of the head, the Sasquatch fell beside Matthews and quickly died.

Certainly, having been there in the flesh, the director knows whether or not this is the case, yet in coyly refusing to share what really happened that night, and what it means, he is failing to resolve or even to address the two crucial points of suspense raised at the film’s outset—whether Matthews can recapture his boyhood belief in Bigfoot, and how he wound up in the hospital, escaping with his life. Escaping from what?

Before the Toronto showing, the producer of “Shooting Bigfoot,” Nick Fraser, told us that the film is about “thwarted manhood.” If what the director knows is that Rick Dyer did indeed stage yet another hoax, and abetted criminal assault in the process, revealing this fact would fit only too well with the film’s main theme and follow through on its portrayal of Dyer as willing to go to any lengths for personal redemption. The willful avoidance of any such revelation speaks volumes: Morgan Matthews evidently found himself painted into a corner, unwilling to sacrifice his film’s mocking stance by engaging the issue of Sasquatch directly, and unable to deal Rick Dyer any final, castrating blow. By simply opting out of the necessary commitment to one conclusion or the other, this filmmaker has ironically thwarted his own artistic manhood.


Christopher Noël

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

21 Responses to “Reviewed: Shooting Bigfoot

  1. Brian Sullivan via Facebook responds:

    Bigfoot body? No. Bullshit? Yes.

  2. Luke Clinton Gallagher via Facebook responds:

    So, in review, a film about someone shooting a Bigfoot and having the body results in no body and little evidence of there actually being a Bigfoot, and the evidence they proclaim to have is blurry photographs and pixelated zoom-in shots of maybe a Bigfoot? And we were hyped for this why, again?

  3. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Let’s see if I have this right. A guy is attacked by something that is shot dead at his feet. He then makes a movie about the experience but never says exactly what or who it was? am I understanding this correctly?

  4. Ploughboy responds:

    Most reviews of this kind would have a “spoiler alert” at the top. Here? Not needed. More like a “confirmation of foregone conclusion” alert instead.

  5. edsbigfoot responds:

    Well…there you have it!! LOL! Phew, I am sure am glad they cleared everything up beyond a reasonable doubt:) I thought the body was supposed to be revealed at the screening? Although I have to admit I was wondering how he was going to get the body of a deceased sasquatch across the Canadian border when I can’t take a travel sized bottle of shampoo in my carry on….however, the screen shot is intriguing I must say…but not definitive, not to me anyway. Oh well, if there is a dead sasquatch somewhere…I don’t feel like I’ve seen it yet. You know, I wish some scientists could convince the aerial drone makers to use some of those drones to get some awesome sasquatch photos/video from the mountains and forest lands of North America….they may move a little faster than blimps, I can’t say for sure…but, if we have to use blimps, let’s get blimpy:)

  6. sasquatch responds:

    I’m glad the “squatch” doesn’t look like that Wilford Brimley looking one on the cover of that book.

    Anyway, it could be fake…a better mask this time.

    Yep, but the reason for the obscurring, puzzling behavior at the end of the film could be because they were afraid of problems with the law-for potential murder or killing an animal not listed as game or out of season etc…

    But most likely we’ll find out it was all a set up by Dyer and the huge man in costume bum rushed Matthews and bruised him up a touch.

    Dyer then made up story of the “dead bigfoot” after -or they coulda shot a blank at the guy in Bigfoot suit etc…And Mathews went along with the story being in a dazed and frightened state.

    Or he’s a genius liar/film veritae faker that is in good company.

    Don’t no for sure…but again, we are presented with a sketchy (get it?) picture…

    It would be a nice human redemption story for Dyer if he really has changed and found the REAL DEAL. I just have a nagging doubt that this is the case.

  7. Ploughboy responds:

    You know, it really is peculiar to this field of study how you can repeatedly make promises (“I have a dead bigfoot which will be revealed in the movie.” “We will take down the FB/FB site if this is not proven on the release of the movie Etc…) blatantly break that promise, and still retain your ability to get people to listen to you. Free country, yes, but the lack of accountability in this field continues to lead to this kind of nonsense. Good science is sacrificed and all the general population learns is it can disregard anything remotely connected to Bigfoot studies with no risk of missing anything important.

  8. Evso Rivers via Facebook responds:

    OK Mr.Coleman what exactly should we think. With revaluation the Melba Ketchum has thrown down combined with the picture of Matilda Wich may or may not be the obvious picture of the enhanced chewbacca mask and melba’s claim that the unknown primate DNA is from a lemur all I want is for someone to shoot straight. I hold you in high regard Mr.Coleman and find your statements to be on the level however being from N.Y.and having hiked the anorondak state park and felt the presence of being shadowed by something not stalk by an animal but shadowed by a thinking entity who is monitoring tressoassers in its territory the mere sense that a validation that these feelings just may be from an actual existance of a feral race of humans who can grow to the size of true giants makes me want to never enter the woods again.

  9. Cryptomundo via Facebook responds:

    This is not Mr. Coleman’s statement. He has not been associated with the site as of January 28, 2013.

  10. Evso Rivers via Facebook responds:

    Oh sorry…however the jist of my statement stands we need to be vigilante on what may be the biggest revelation of this decade. That we may not be the only upright primates in this world and we do not have the right to shape and transform this country as we please destroying forest and polluting the air and rivers over fishing and hunting. We share this world however lets be real any evidence of these things being real would only result in us hunting them to extinction. After all what we call the history of mankind is nothing more than the history of war interrupted by moments of oncettain peace. There habitats will be destroyed so we can put a cell phone tower or a pipeline through it.

  11. Aaron Fernandes via Facebook responds:

    Eloquently written, as I have come to expect from this writer. Disappointed with the outcome of this film. I probably won’t be checking it out if or when it hits the airwaves.

  12. Chris Noel responds:

    Ploughboy, FB/FB said they would shut down their site if the claim that Dyer shot and killed a Sasquatch is proven to be a hoax. It has not been proven to be a hoax. You should try a little precision in your thinking before you start hurling accusations.

  13. sunnymae responds:

    Chris Noel – no, that is not what FB/FB said

    “The FB/FB team believes the footage is authentic and we’re confident Morgan Matthews’ documentary, “Shooting Bigfoot,” will show on 4/30/13 the full, amazing story and prove that Bigfoot does exist. If FB/FB is wrong, we’re shutting down our page.”

    They go on to say they have “skin in the game” now and they will shut down their site if they’re wrong
    That is copied directly from FB/FB site dated April 20th. Maybe YOU should have a little precision in what you think you know!

  14. Raiderpithicusblaci responds:

    Anything starring Tom Biscardi does not warrant our attention.

  15. shmargin responds:

    If it’s real, release the HD footage!

    Or is August 14th going to be when the movie comes out for sale? So we have to all buy it by then, see 3 seconds of footage that probably isnt as good as the PG film, then find out on the 15th someone “stole” Rick Dyers bigfoot body so he cant show it to us?

    If they were in possession of a body there would be no reason not to be showing it off or showing off proof of it already. Unless its all fake, then that would be a good reason to wait to get the hype up, am I right?

    Plus that blurry little shot does little for me. Whiles its obviously hard to tell at the tiny resolution its posted at (why do THAT unless its not convincing at HD?) I wouldn’t be surprised if its going to be a make up job or a combo of actor and CGI. At tiny resolution, that face looks fake and lifeless to me.

  16. Ploughboy responds:

    Chris….that is the funniest thing I have heard so far today since waking up. Thanks man! (But no, really….stop it…my sides are hurting…)

  17. Ploughboy responds:

    And Chris, FB/FB’s, umm, statement is what is known in my line of work as an “illusory promise.” You can do it, but doing it while retaining your credibility is a whole ‘nother gig.

  18. Ploughboy responds:

    ….and Chris, don’t think I don’t find the body of evidence arguing for the existence of this creature to be compelling. I absolutely do. What I do find less than compelling is the showmen who apparently only exist to keep this carny sideshow rolling along by publishing false deadlines, making illusory committments and then always failing to deliver anything except another round of hair-splitting, “unforseen circumstances”, legal restrictions,and further promises to deliver “next time.” Enough.

    The Dyers, Biscardis and Allens of this world need as little attention as possible. If FB/FB wants to throw in with them, crack down on it I say, but don’t expect true science to give them serious consideration. Or me. Make no mistake about it: They are promoting only one thing: Themselves.

  19. corrick responds:

    There is something very wrong here. From what I’ve been able to read about Morgan Matthews he is a respected maker of documentaries including the 2007, “Beautiful Young Minds” as well as a number of acclaimed documentaries for the BBC like “Battleship Antarctica” and “The Fallen” about British soldiers in Iraq and Afgahnistahn.

    As such, I merely assumed his “Shooting Bigfoot” would be nothing more than a whimsical look at some of the more colorful characters involved searching for a perhaps imaginary animal. Apparently not. Maybe this is Morgan Matthews meltdown Andy Kaufman moment. Dunno. But definitely not what I expected.

  20. melissacabic responds:

    Well, since the homeless people that live where this “shooting” took place said on camera that Morgan Matthews left the area the day after the “shooting” under his own power and looking “completely normal and NOT beat up at all”…and since one of these homeless men was a “look out” for the film crew while they filmed the “shooting” sequence said on camera, that they did this scene about FIVE times (meaning that it took them five takes to get it right) and that Dyer was shooting blanks, I would have to say that if Rick Dyer told me the sky was blue, I would have to look up to check and make sure.

  21. NMRNG responds:

    I have a question for Christopher Noel, one that you repeatedly ducked in your comments to my review on Amazon of your bizarre little Kindle essay on the Shooting Bigfoot film that you cobbled together from your prior books:

    What information do you possess that leads you to the conclusion that Rick Dyer actually shot a bigfoot in September and has its body, notwithstanding that Dyer is a proven fraud and attention whore who previously was caught red-handed perpertrating an “I have a bigfoot body” hoax? He’s lied before, he failed to produce when Shooting Bigfoot was released – why do you believe him now? When every single intelligent person who ventures an opinion on this issue condemns Rick Dyer for being a fraud in the midst of another hoax, what information do you have that unequivocably demonstrates that this proven liar is now being honest?

    You left a 5/5 rating for Dyer’s new Kindle publication – why??? Is your little old catlady hermit friend who claims to talk telepathically with her sasquatch pal telling you that she “heard” it over the sasquatch telepathy network? Or did you have it on good authority from a passenger on an UFO? Please advise.

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