Director Eduardo Sanchez is a man of many talents, and he is responsible for several excellent films I’ve seen of late. Although he is most well-known for the infamous BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, which is one of my favorite horror flicks, he has also done a diversity of horror-related projects. These include ALTERED, his 2006 take on alien abduction; a segment in V/H/S/2 titled “A Ride in the Park”, in which a bicycle enthusiast runs into a group of zombies and the audience gets to enjoy the chaos courtesy of his GoPro camera; and today’s featured review, EXISTS, a visceral excursion into eastern Texas horror. I am proud to say EXISTS is a hell of a movie, and it makes Bigfoot scary again!
If you are not familiar with EXISTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:
For five friends, it was a chance for a summer getaway— a weekend of camping in the Texas Big Thicket. But visions of a carefree vacation are shattered with an accident on a dark and desolate country road. In the wake of the accident, a bloodcurdling force of nature is unleashed—something not exactly human, but not completely animal— an urban legend come to terrifying life…and seeking murderous revenge.
When will distribution companies learn that you DO NOT put the monster/creature/antagonist on the cover artwork?? This is supposed to be a ‘big reveal’ in most horror flicks. That is my sole complaint about the packaging for this film. And what makes it even worse is the image on the cover is not even what the creature looks like in the film! But, you should never judge a movie solely by its cover, so we’ll move on past that.
EXISTS is shot well, even considering it is from a first-person perspective. This works for the film, as it did in BLAIR WITCH and countless other films, because it helps heighten the intensity and, therefore, the terror. I love ‘found-footage’ films when they are done well for this very fact alone, and EXISTS utilizes this film style to its full advantage.
The acting in EXISTS is good for the most part, although the characters are never fully fleshed out. Granted, in the short time we get to know them, we DO find a few things to like about them overall, but I would have liked to have more backstory on them, so I could feel more for them once the horrific events start to happen. This isn’t a huge drawback, but just something I feel is of note.
The special effects are great, although there’s not a whole lot of gore. Instead, director Sanchez relies more on practical scares than vivid carnage. And while I’m a fan of gore, I’m also a big fan of being scared regardless, therefore this is a huge selling point for me on the film. I also like the creature effects. The special effects team makes Bigfoot look very realistic, a point of emphasis on which every creature-feature should focus. As I mentioned above, EXISTS makes this myth terrifying once again, and the appearance of the creature itself is a big reason for this.
EXISTS is a definite win for me, and I highly recommend this film to anyone who likes their monsters beastly and vicious. The film is available now, so check it out.