'The VICE Guide to Bigfoot’ provides shallow yet entertaining mockumentary of the creature

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of VICE | Reproduced with Permission

The only thing scarier than Bigfoot is millennials.

“The VICE Guide to Bigfoot” is the feature directorial debut for Zach Lamplugh and stars writer and producer Brian Emond. “VICE Guide” is a mockumentary film following a reporter’s absurd experience as he tracks down Bigfoot with a self-proclaimed cryptid expert. Shot in the glitzy and overtly informative style of Vice documentaries, the film provides just enough unpredictable entertainment to warrant a watch.

Emond stars in the title role as a VICE reporter desperately seeking an exciting story and eventual promotion. Emond is able to convey a striking sense of dry humor and is an enjoyable protagonist to watch. His monotone delivery and dryness bounce comedically off of the more energetic characters in the film. In a way, he embodies many millennial reporters as a whole, becoming increasingly frustrated with the overabundance of lame stories and clickbait pitches his publication is sending him on. Emond is able to carry the spotlight throughout the film and does convey a respectable character arch by the end of the film.

The film features a robust and unpredictable cast of supporting characters. Emond’s cameraman and producer offers a hopeful element to his quest to find a good story. Jeffrey Stephenson leads the journey as a self-proclaimed Bigfoot expert. His goofy antics are layered with a broken backstory relating to a fractured marriage. It’s a good attempt at adding complexity to a comedic character, but it never hits as emotionally as it should. The film also features a shady policeman, clumsy cartel member and a vulgar Vice reporter whose flashiness earns him a promotion.

The comedy in “The VICE Guide” doesn’t always work, but there are a few chuckle-inducing moments. One instance involves Emond explaining how, in the editing process, they will add drone shots to their documentary, only for his cameraman to quickly state that he does not own a drone. The next shot is indeed shot with a drone, although there is a huge stock footage watermark across the screen. It’s comedic jabs like these that any filmmaker/documentary reporter can relate with. The film’s comedy lacks when it tries a bit too hard to be funny, such as its repetitive inclusion of potty humor.

“The VICE Guide” is shot exceptionally well, especially considering its handheld style. The bright natural lighting works beautifully amongst the vast forest most of their journey takes place in. Night scenes are effectively shot, conveying an eerie and ominous tone. The framing and camera movement of one particular scene is actually quite fear-inducing.

The documentary style editing works to the benefit of the film. In many instances, a random archive clip of Stephenson’s character’s YouTube Channel will play or a string of images and videos will play amongst Emond’s narration. These “nonfiction” elements add an uncanny realism to the wackiness that is the film’s story.

The plot of the film is consistently enjoyable, detailing the antics surrounding the reporting of a Bigfoot hunt. Towards the third act of the story, things take a major shift; twisting the genre and tone of the film to a large extent. Despite this, it would’ve been nice if there was more character work and unpredictability prior to this moment, as opposed to just one final push of weirdness.

“The VICE Guide to Bigfoot” is a fair directorial debut for Lampugh. Its uncanny story pairs comedically well with the format of a Vice documentary. Those looking for a shallow yet entertaining comedic ride will enjoy their stay with Bigfoot.

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