Fresh Cuts: Big Legend (2018) (USA)

There’s somethin in them thare woods!!!! Someday people will listen to the warnings of every old timer that’s grown up next to an extensive forest. That day is not today. We’re all better off for it…as long as we’re not the ones venturing into the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

Just stay out of the damn woods!

Tyler finishes up his long stint in the army rangers and takes his girl out to Mount Saint Helens for some beautiful sightseeing and camping. There, he proposes to his special lady and it looks like they’re ready to spend the rest of their lives together just as happy as can be. Tragically, after hearing some strange knocks and growls, Tyler goes off to investigate and something snatches his fiancĂ© from the camp. We skip ahead twelve months and find Tyler being granted leave from a psychiatric ward. He tells his doctor he now believes it to be a bear that grabbed his girl and his claims of something unknown was brought on by shock. He doesn’t actually believe this but he wants out and after a talk with his supportive mother (Adrienne “fuckin” Barbeau!) he decides to head back to the spot of the incident and figure out what really happened. A disturbing image on his lost love’s camera of a giant manlike thing watching in the distance further convinces him that it weren’t no damn bear.

Lookin good

He eventually meets up with a hunter who has been hunting the forest since he was a youngin’. Which means he is also well versed in the lore of the area. Apparently there were some ancient parameters set up by the original inhabitants and recently some of the protective talismans have been destroyed. It does not take long for something big and pissed off to start tracking our duo. When fleeing seems to be out of the question, the two men realize they have to take a stand and they may not make it out of the woods alive.

Huntin for suds

There’s a hell of a lot to love about Big Legend. The two leads are great and their friendship that develops out of necessity is believable and rewarding. The location filming is gorgeous and really hammers home the vastness of the Washington woods. The monster is barely seen (even though the suit looks wonderful) but it works because you can feel its presence in every frame. There’s a wonderful setup at the end for future installments featuring Lance “fucking” Henriksen and I genuinely hope we get more of this “cryptid universe”. Practical effects, some harsh violence and a couple of sincere gut punches really bring it together. There may be some stretches of boredom for someone looking for a straight up monster flick but I don’t have any complaints on that. It does feel a bit like a first chapter (which it hopefully ends up being) so you don’t get as much meat as it feels like there should be but it’s still a fun ride. 8/10

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