Star Rating:

Sasquatch Sunset

Directors: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, Christophe Zajac-Denek

Release Date: Friday 14th June 2024

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Comedy

Running time: 88 minutes

A family of sasquatches (Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, Christophe Zajac-Denek, Nathan Zellner) spend a year in the wilderness, roaming from place to place, experiencing the chaos of nature and the vagaries of existence along the way as they try to survive in a rapidly encroaching world...

You're never quite sure if 'Sasquatch Sunset' and its directors, Nathan and David Zellner, are actively taking the piss out of you. It doesn't really matter whether they are or not.

There was a brief but brilliant period in the early eighties where studios were willing to try and capture the nature of prehistoric life. There were wild ventures like 'Clan of the Cave Bear' with Darryl Hannah in tribal makeup, and 'Quest For Fire' with Ron Perlman and Evertt McGill grunting at one another in a language created by Anthony Burgess of 'A Clockwork Orange' fame. 'Sasquatch Sunset' plays like a tribute to these, all of it experimental and weird, and proudly sitting in it with no explanation necessary or needed.

Like all arthouse movies, plot and theme is secondary to mood and atmosphere, and 'Sasquatch Sunset' has this in abundance. The camera lingers over the radiant sunshine coming through the trees on a dewy morning. There are actual comedic setpieces with Jesse Eisenberg's sasquatch character considering making love to a hole in a stump of wood that's holding up a shelter made by the group. Riley Keough's sasquatch character sniffs and smells her genitalia at random points. You can see why both actors lined up for something like this, as it's a chance to completely slip their skin and become something entirely different on screen. They're both completely unrecognisable, and with absolutely no way of knowing who's who until the credits roll.

All of this forms into a sort of oddly comforting nature documentary, in which the unspoiled nature and innocence comes to the fore and the creatures who roam through it are incidental and carefree. The music by experimental trio The Octopus Project has a kind of whimsy and charm to it that effortlessly blends with the goofy humour and the comforting embrace of nature on screen.

None of 'Sasquatch Sunset' should work. It's a movie with zero spoken dialogue and very minimal plotting, the comedy is puerile at times, yet it has a kind of innocence and a rugged sense of itself that makes it a fascinating experience to watch for those willing to walk out to meet it.