Festivals

Sasquatch

SXSW Review Sasquatch- Unique and Riveting, It Is 2021’s, Tiger King

As part of SXSW’s episodic offering, Hulu’s Sasquatch thrills with captivating characters, mythical beasts, and a thirty-year-old triple murder.

The executive producer team Mark and Jay Duplass, behind Horse Girl and Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, are back with easily one of the most surprising episodics of the festival. Their addition to the investigative journalism genre, Sasquatch, is the most fun you will have learning about pot without actually imbibing. The genre-defying miniseries has elements of murder porn, old-school found footage, and cryptozoological investigations all set in the gorgeous but seemingly deadly Emerald Triangle in upstate California. It sounds like a lot because it is. Somehow director Joshua Rofé weaves a veritable clown car of twists, turns, kooky characters, and stylistic choices into a compelling three-episode arc.

Investigative journalist David Holthouse is on the hunt to solve a nearly three-decade-old triple murder mystery. In 1993 he was in Mendocino County on a marijuana farm with friends. He has a vivid recollection of several men, all reportedly drug addicts, who claimed they saw three migrant workers torn to pieces. The addicts were understandably terrified and blamed Sasquatch, thus the title of the series. Holthouse’s investigation to determine if the murders are real lead to some shocking places and crazy revelations.

Sasquatch is an odd but glorious love child of Tiger King and Skinwalker Ranch. An entire cast of weirdos, oddballs, and grizzled wise owls grace the screen. Rofé weaves together a story with interviews, muted historical footage, newspaper clippings, and most bizarre of all, funny and wildly creative animation. It is a singularly unique series that looks like nothing else on television. A few shaky-cam shots would have been better served to stay on the cutting room floor, but even that complaint is mild. Bizarrely, the amateur shots lend credibility to the guerilla-style investigation technique David Holthouse utilizes.

Sasquatch
Photo by: Hulu

There is an authenticity to Sasquatch that you don’t get from The Secret Of Skinwalker Ranch and shows like it. In large part, because however absurd many of the eyewitnesses are, Holthouse is absolutely committed and wholly interesting. The “toothless and ruthless” are how he describes the meth heads who influence his story at one point. This is a fascinating guy and story even without the addition of a Bigfoot sighting. Some interviews are better than others. Life Partners and long time Squatchers(the actual term) Wayne and Georges are an absolute hoot. Between their old married couple bickering and vivid storytelling, something is compelling there.

Ghost Dance is a grizzled old weed farmer who is exactly what you think an older pot farmer is. The same can be said about the majority of the unusual residents interviewed. They are the strangest, funniest, most real grouping of people you may ever see, and none of them use the dramatized incredulous looks that shows like Oak Island Mystery feature. Even the Sasquatch version of Ancient Aliens’ fave Giorgio A. Tsoukalos looks like he stepped out of a renaissance painting but resonates as entirely authentic.

Most of this documentary’s realness comes from the social issues that are interwoven between the Bigfoot hunting and faded dude speak. Grounding the story is the migrant plight. The triple homicide Holthouse is investigating is just one of many murders in the area. The pain the families of the dead still feel is raw even seven years later. Racism has been and continues to be an issue in America. Their addition to the investigation makes what could have been a silly story remarkably prescient.

There are so many twists in turns in the short 3 episode miniseries you barely have time to register one before a new angle is presented. It is an intensely entertaining documentary that is an easy binge. It will have you hunting for answers long after the credits roll.

There are meth heads, wise old farmers, mythical beasts, migrant workers, a triple homicide, child rape, murderous biker gangs, pot farmers, and hippies. It is an intoxicating menagerie of insanity that is so much fun you can’t stop watching. One of the best ways to describe the series is a quote from one of Holthouse’s interviews. He says it best when he says, “You’re only scraping the surface of the crazy.” Sasquatch is playing as part of the SXSW episodic lineup and will premier on Hulu on April 20th, 2021.”

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