Sasquatch Sunset

Directed by David and Nathan Zeller

Starring – Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, Christophe Zajac-Denek

The Plot – In the misty forests of North America, a family of Sasquatches, possibly the last of their enigmatic kind, embark on an absurdist, epic, hilarious, and ultimately poignant journey over the course of one year. These shaggy and noble giants fight for survival as they find themselves on a collision course with the ever-changing world around them, bringing you perhaps the greatest bigfoot story ever told.

Rated R for some sexual content, full nudity and bloody images.

Sasquatch Sunset | Official Red Band Trailer | Bleecker Street (


For better of worse, this is a film that sticks to its guns and remains as committed to its cause, of a family of Sasquatch’s journeying through the woods, as possible. In terms of unconventionalism, this film is a breed of its own, avoiding a narrative structure in favor of episodic adventures that often attain a gross-out factor to their indulgence, all with enough effective sight and reaction gags that helped to offset the possible boredom that could’ve sprung from something so one-dimensional, but fortunately didn’t. It’s easy to irresponsibly dismiss it as thinking it isn’t without storytelling, as essentially it’s just these four beasts exploring the depths of their surroundings, but themes pertaining to darwinism and morbid curiosities over the course of its 85 minute run time often serve as the manifestation to the fearfully speculative creatures that we see before us, all in the confines of a dangerously unforgiving established setting that often gets the better of them. For that, the film’s technical components are presented quite masterfully, whether in atmsopherically intoxicating cinematography from Mike Gioulakis, whose countryside photography vividly paints deceiving beauty to a place with so much unforseen danger, and the gentle ambiance of The Octopus Project imbeding euphoric bliss in music score that feels plucked directly from a nature film, to contradict the bizarreness of the visuals that are ironically presented with unabashed honesty. Because of such, it often feels like these Sasquatch’s walked into a film that they have no right being a part of, due to the beauty and magnitude of what’s presented, and while the material isn’t afraid to quite literally get its hands dirty with green slimy vomit, ambiatic fluid of birth, and constant defacation and masturbation, to name a few unsettling pleasantries, the presentation brilliantly articulates how this breed of animal feel so abrasively out of place in such a scenic splendor that proves much more than gross-out gags went into its creativity. In addition, the costume and prosthetics make-up are top notch for the production, helping to not only obscure the familiarities of well-known actors like Eisenberg and Keough, but also in generating believability in the creature designs that feel so integral towards audience believability in their interpretation. Obscurrence doesn’t sacrifice detection, however, as the masks worn very much still attain notoriety in the reactions of the actors, which cast greater insight and exubberance to responses to scenes that would otherwise feel ambiguous within the confines of a language that we can’t capably interpret. On top of this, and perhaps most importantly, the performances from this four person ensemble deserve all of the praise in the world, especially considering they’re given no discernable dialogue to pull and communicate their various emotional impulses. While each of them are so obscurred in costumes that make it difficult to distinguish one among the rest, besides the bodily anatomy of Keough being the only lady in the bunch, the four of them express uniqueness to the depths of their respective personalities that keep them from feeling interchangeable, with unflinching merit to sounds and physicality that feel far greater than just animalistic impressions. Essentially, they’re only given noises and facial responses to generate meaning to the various things they’re experiencing, and while stricter actors would look at the role and possibly scoff at constantly humiliating themselves for the sake of entertainment, there’s a level of respect to their unwaivering commitment that simply can’t be overappreciated here, enacting memorable turns for each of them that uniquely feel so unlike anything that any one of them have attempted throughout their storied careers.


It’s obvious that “Sasquatch Sunset” won’t be an inevitable crowd-pleaser for even a majority of the audience, especially since the film establishes so early on in the experience that sasquatch’s being as crude and mindless as possible is all that this film will ever be. In such, part of me wishes that there was more long-term storytelling to the sequencing, especially in the unnecessary division of four seasons dividing the structure in ways that essentially feels like starting over at each on-screen text conveying a seasonal change. If the script built more of a lasting impression to its various characters to develop them in ways that left them effortlessly compelling, then I think it would’ve had a greater crossover appeal, but as it stands this is a patience-testing engagement in the worst sense of the term, with aforementioned gross-out gags that remove any semblance of love or appreciation for the characters who we’re asked to spend an entirely of the film with. In addition to this, the film’s desire to tonally mature when the material doesn’t invokes jarring tonal shifts throughout the duration that doesn’t always feel earned or integral to the consistency of the material. Without spoiling anything, some characters face life-altering circumstances as a result of brainless decision-making, and as a result the film’s tones constantly reach for tension or dramatic-wrenching in the same movie where only a scene prior it showed these character rubbing their crotches and repeatedly smelling it, leaving the tonal consistency feeling a bit conflicted in such unexpected ambition, which often felt like two different directors imbedding their own unique vision to the capture. Finally, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the integrity of the pacing will depend greatly on how you respond to the gags of the material, but even in my appreciation for a majority of various deliveries, the abrupt and unfulfilling resolution to the film’s ending only reaffirmed how little the idea was fully fleshed out from start to finish. While I can fully understand the visual meaning of what the film was going for during its closing moments, I don’t think it’s anything that serves as a powerful or poignant exclamation point needed to drive the value of the investment home, in turn unintentionally inspiring the notion that either the production ran out of film, or the screenwriter ran out of futile exercises to continuously humiliate these characters. Either way, it’s one of those fade-to-black transitions that will inevitably leave audiences audibly asserting “That’s it?”, to an experience that already doesn’t reward anyone other than the depraved and unconventional side of experimental filmmaking.

“Sasquatch Sunset” is unabashedly conflicting as a see-what-you-get kind of narrative storytelling involving four sasquatch’s humping, hurling and hurting their way through nature. On one side, it’s a humorous delve into stoner humor, with several off-beat exaggerations inspiring effective laughter, but on the other a tonally conflicting and narratively unsatisfying exercise in tedium that grows repetitive by the film’s opening half hour mark, solidifying both something that you’re sure you’ve never seen, but simultaneously something that you probably wish you would never see again.

My Grade: 6/10 or C-

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