Review of Sylvanic

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 15th, 2006

Cryptomundo reader relik murdoch attended the showing in Edmonton of Sylvanic, which included the twelve seconds of new Bigfoot footage talked about here on Cryptomundo. Here is relik murdoch’s review of the event.

Sylvanic Premiere

This message is for those curious but unable to see the 30 minute “documentary” called Sylvanic, supposedly showcasing new, never before seen Sasquatch footage. Well, I just saw it here in Edmonton. First, I’ll have you know that I have always believed that Sasquatch could exist and I have been fascinated by them my whole life. I was hoping that this could be the beginning of the “Sasquatch are proven era” but after seeing it, I feel I owe the Sasquatch community my interpretation. Sylvanic is just a fictional short film, and a poorly made one at that. Call it a poor man’s Blair Witch Project, if you will.

Sylvanic Premiere

Before the film started, the main guy, Todd Standing, was live and in person on stage. He gave a brief, vague description of the film. He told us that the film is a real-life, authentic documentary; a Bigfoot expedition at a secret location, a snitch on his crew, trigger-happy Sasquatch hunters. He tells us that the government has since, conveniently, barricaded the area, Sylvanic, forever. It made me wonder if a real-life “Smoking Man” might even be involved in this. At this point, I was actually still giving him the benefit of the doubt. And then the movie started.

It was pretty much right off the bat when they showed a short preview clip of some dude crying. He was being interviewed in a studio about some tragic Sasquatch event. He is clearly an actor. He is acting. You can just tell that he isn’t a genuine, real person. My two friends and I got this vibe immediately as we nudged and whispered, “Fake”, to confirm this. I had a feeling this would have been too good to be true but I still felt duped and upset. Next, we move right into the Sasquatch footage which has already lost all credibility now that I figured out this is really just someone’s lame film project. I reminded myself that my $5 admission was for charity, a good cause. The first clip is the quick, dark, blurry one that’s on the internet. It’s pretty inconclusive but not noticeably fake. Next is the much anticipated, too hot for TV, other clip. It, too, is pretty inconclusive. It could have easily just been a guy in a suit. Despite Standing’s claims, I didn’t see it do anything superhuman during the few seconds of shaky footage. The Patterson footage remains at #1 in my books. From here things take a turn for the worse.

The rest of the film follows the fake handy-cammed story of a group of teens who are accosted and tormented by Sasquatch while thrill seeking in the majestic Sylvanic. No more fake sasquatch footage though. I found the rest painful to watch. I had a hard time focusing on anything other than to make sure that the kids, along with the rest of the cast (rescue workers, the news reporter) were indeed actors, which wasn’t a hard thing to do. Although, I must say that there was one older fellow with a cap that I thought stole the show, acting-wise. The story was brutal too. A sasquatch somehow throws a kid into a creek or something, he nearly drowns, is revived and then pulls out a handgun? You lost me. The performances were at a high school drama class level and were the main factor for this not even being entertaining. Except that now, in a weird way, this has become a mystery within itself. Is there anything real about Todd Standing or is he simply just an actor/film maker? Is he a genius of some sort? (yeah, right) I hope I will get some closure in the aftermath of this.

I was afraid this would be Blair Witch wannabes. I just didn’t want it to be. I feel bad for the people, myself included, who came expecting something legitimate, possibly history changing and instead got treated to this stinker. At least do it on April 1st. I feel even worse for the poor suckers that believed it. Bravo.

Now, a few days later, I am still trying to piece together this whole stupid Sylvanic thing but there have no reviews or even mention of it by the media since its showings, but here is my take. It was a one time publicity stunt done by a crappy film maker who suckered in the local media and Sasquatch community by saying it was a real documentary when, once you see it, you can tell that’s not the case. Looking back, the actual Sasquatch footage and description of it (about the first 5 minutes of the 30 minute film) is the most believable and entertaining part, which isn’t saying a whole lot. He made it a non-profit charity event to help make up for how lame it was and to limit any backlash.

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.

17 Responses to “Review of Sylvanic”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    Drat! I was at least hoping for a drawing of the creature’s eyes…

  2. fredfacker responds:

    But how can it be fake? I was just Yarwen hunting in the Sylvanic last weekend!

    (Saw this coming the moment I opened the Sylvanic website. Unfortunately I know way too many of these kind of filmmakers in real life.)

  3. dialthree responds:

    Thanks for the well written review.

  4. jchip responds:

    The mark of the Blair Witch was all over this one.

  5. captiannemo responds:

    Again we are promised steak and given BALONEY instead.

  6. Lee Pierce responds:

    Thanks for the great review. One more con man.

  7. joppa responds:

    Thanks Murdoch, weren’t you on McGyver? Really good post and it is nice to know I can save my 5 bucks. How well was the event attended?

  8. relik murdoch responds:

    The A-team actually. The 7:00 show was maybe 3/4 full (it sat 240). I don’t know about the other 2 shows. Anyone?

  9. aspenparkland responds:

    Your remarks are almost exactly what I said about it. And everyone I talked to agreed.

    I was at the 7 pm showing too, but I hear the other showings had similar crowds.

  10. kittenz responds:

    Maybe just send five bucks to the charity and don’t waste time on the film. Too bad though. Maybe the next one will be legit.

  11. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, these sorts of con men are really circling around the cryptozoology community like vultures these days. I think there are a lot of intelligent, knowledgable posters here and I don’t think anyone here likes being made a fool of. This kind of disrespect towards people with an honest interest in researching cryptids really rubs me the wrong way. And the sad part is that they are making money! Look at Biscardi! I don’t even like wasting my time posting about it, but enough is enough. It’s pathetic.

  12. busterggi responds:

    Good review, too bad about the whole Sylanvic affair being a poor Blair Witch rip-off.

  13. KnockOut responds:

    Wait a minute….the Blair Witch wasn’t a real documentary?!?!

  14. megan responds:

    Ok so I’ve been following this for a while. My friend e-mailed me the Sylvanic website. I didn’t really think anything of it.

    The chronicles, although not having any actual history breaking accounts seemed to be written in a non-agressive perspective as though Todd Standing really was intrigued himself. And as far as the local and names of tribes ect. I think I would be vague on location if I really did care about these animals.

    So then boom, Sylvanic is all over the radio, and paper, and the 6pm CTV news talking about the mini-doc-so my friends and I of course go. The show I went to only had standing room left. And after listening to him in person, if he is a actor, he’s a damm good one, because I believe him to really be crazy with intent to pursue this.

    The money did go to the Humane Society-I checked, and he is claiming to attempt a petition for the protection of these animals-so to credit him there it sounds a bit to humanitarian for a money-grabbing hoax. The man is asking the science world to step up is he not?

    I liked the mini-doc but was a bit alarmed. The Blair Witch Project was a feature film backed by a distribution company. This was not and what’s real footage vs. actors? I mean if there really was a group of campers and 4 of them were fatally injured, I mean shouldn’t someone do something?

    On the website Dan Hamilton sent in a letter saying he had been to this location in 2004 and was going back. It’s almost chilling to read this now, knowing that if Dan Hamilton exists he and his friends did go back but something happened. And now, again if this is fact, people are just writing it off as entertainment.

    I hope the Science world does step up to attempt to disprove him, and possibly some sort of government puts a statement out in regards to these so called kids. If you didn’t go to the mini-doc then you didn’t see or actually hear Todd Standing in person, I did and so I will continue to follow this.

  15. relik murdoch responds:

    I never said it was a money making scam. I guess this is more of an attempted publicity stunt and just plain fun for Todd Standing. I mainly don’t like how it was falsely advertised to be a real documentary and I’ll bet the Citadel Theater didn’t like that either. The sasquatch footage is one thing, but am I actually supposed to buy into this whole Dan Hamilton tale. I went in optimistic but left insulted and embarrassed by it and I know others were too. I like to think that I can usually tell the difference between real, genuine people, and bad acting and that was bush league.

    You just happen to believe it and are entertained by it. That’s fine by me. To your defense, Standing does give it 110% while performing and most likely is genuinely obsessed with this whole website/film project of his. It actually freaks me out more that I know it’s fake than if it were real. How weird is that?

    As for the government, and science community, they won’t give him the time of day. They hardly acknowledge the real sasquatch community, let alone this guy. He will say it’s all a conspiracy against him or better yet, will find some local unknown to play a scientist or something. The media may run a quick tongue-in-cheek story again on this if he’s lucky. In the mean time, I too, will continue to follow this, purely out of curiosity of course. Peace.

  16. aspenparkland responds:

    Just to be sure, I searched both the Canadian Newsstand and Canadian Business & Current Affairs databases. There are no stories on a missing Dan Hamilton.

  17. iwarrior responds:

    My mother listens to Coast To Coast AM regularly and emailed me about this today. My eyesight must be poor because I’ve been looking at this footage repeatedly and still can’t make out a darn thing. All I see are trees and darkness. I can’t even see anything in the still photos.

    I’m disappointed. I wanna see Bigfoot. 🙂 I’ve been wantin’ to see him since I was a little boy. 🙁 I’m sick of the Patterson film.

    Seriously though, this sucks eggs.

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