Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: David Blair
Cast: Kent Harper, Gill Gayle, Adam Pitman
You know what I don’t like? Indie films that show no heart, no serious effort, no dedication to the project, at all. Movies devoid of passion suck, plain and simple. Honestly. What I do like, are indie films that try to give us something genuinely entertaining to chew on for an hour and a half. A film that just screams effort and ambition, right out of the gate. Which category does The Sighting squeeze into, you ask? The latter, thank heavens.
David Blair and Adam Pitman give us a movie that tries from the first moment to the last, determined to make for real entertainment that catches viewers off guard on more than a single occasion. There’s a bait and switch maneuver late in the film that successfully separates The Sighting from the majority of other Bigfoot (Sasquatch!) flicks out there, but the characters themselves are interesting enough to handle that business, anyway. For an inexperienced duo, Blair and Pitman turn in very respectable work.
The story, at first glance, is very basic. Travis and Nate are taking a celebratory trek to Canada after graduating high school. They get a late start hitting the road however, and soon learn that they’re not going to make it to the border before it closes at 9PM. But the oddball hick at the gas station in No Man’s Land tips these two off: there’s a desolate road that will lead the two directly into Canada, no borders to concern themselves with. It sounds too good to be true, and it is. Travis and Nate run into what appears to be a group of Sasquatch in the woods. They’re attacked, and only one will survive. But what that survivor does beyond the moment of attack is what makes the story so interesting. It’s also the piece of the narrative that we’re not going to spoil for you.
I’ve got to say, for such a green crew, there’re some solid editing techniques exercised, a few unexpected twists that pay off and some very sound performances to soak up. A few of these performers show some very serious range. The dialogue falls apart from time to time, feeling a bit more pretentious than poetic, but what works, works really well, and Adam Pitman, who fronts the film, has a very wide range. This kid can ball his eyes out like he’s perched over a diced onion, he can also smile so hard you’d bet your bank account his jaw is double jointed. And he covers the middle ground quite well, typically more cheerful than sorrowful or stressed. I can’t lie, I could use a guy with this much charisma and cheer in my life; it’s bleak over here, Adam – let’s grab a beer and some sunlight!
There are faults that can be pointed out here, the most glaring may be the fact that viewers never really get much of a look at the Sasquatch of the story. When we do catch a quick look, these critters don’t look like much other than people in loose-fitting furry little suits. In a celluloid climate that produces films with costumes as mind numbingly realistic as though featured in Eduardo Sanchez’s riveting picture Exists, this kind of work doesn’t hold up. A larger chunk of the budget could have been invested in creature design which could have improved the film two-fold: we would have been gifted a more realistic monster, and that gift would’ve opened a few extra chances to give viewers clean looks at these beasts.
Creature design is really my greatest complaint of the flick. Sure, I could nitpick a few other aspects of The Sighting, but that’s not necessary. I didn’t anticipate a masterful piece of artwork from this low budget chiller. In fact, I only held one single hope and that was that I’d be entertained. I was more than entertained by this spirited little film that’s more likely than not going to open some doors for both Blair and Pitman, who are the true stars of this entire production.
Don’t skip The Sighting. We don’t see enough highly entertaining low budget horror films. This little beast makes big things happen with a small wallet and a pair of powerfully pumping hearts. Kudos go out to David Blair and Adam Pitman. Job well done.