Directed by: Dan Riesser
Cast: Tarah DeSpain, John Bobek, Jeramy Blackford
Some flicks are designed to send viewers a complex and thought provoking piece to closely examine. Other flicks set out to entertain and nothing more. Personally, I’m a fan of both styles of picture, but when the day has outworn its welcome, sometimes you’ve got to lean on those brainless but thrilling little flicks because, well, if you’re like me, your brain hits a certain point in which it only operates on autopilot.
I’m on autopilot right now, and thank the heavens I opted to tune into Stomping Ground, as this one is right up my current alley.
A group of 20-somethings head out into the thick brush to do some Bigfoot hunting. The area is somewhat infamous for housing the beast, shrouded in foliage and rarely seen. But this little group figures a trek into the wilderness will, worst case scenario, lead to a hangover and a stiff back in the morning. But maybe there’s something real behind the Bigfoot legend. Maybe this group is going to learn that first hand.
When the time is down we’re treated to some strong character development. Even if we don’t know the entire life story of each individual on this little hunting trip, we do get to know them well enough to identify their personality types, and that’s just enough to be able to invest in their existence, which means if the big bad Bigfoot comes along and tears them to shreds, it’s going to have some effect on us.
Granted, there are a few d-bags in the mix (there’s palpable tension between our lead female, Annie and her current boyfriend and ex-boyfriend, and that combo certainly lures the asshole machismo to the surface), so we may not feel too much discomfort watching them torn to shreds, but overall, the group is relatively likable, so, we’ll hold off on our anticipation of the Bigfoot, for the time being.
Director Dan Riesser does a good thing in keeping his monster confined to the shadows for the bulk of the film, only revealing the beast – which looks pretty damn good – in the waning moments of the film. In that sense it feels a tad like An American Werewolf in London, moments before we see the Sasquatch revealed we also get some camera work directly from Sam Raimi’s cook book, so it is nice to see Riesser pay a little homage to some of the greats.
Will Stomping Ground be remembered as a great? Probably not. But that’s due to a light promotional campaign rather than a lack of quality. When it comes to the sub-genre, this is certainly one of the stronger efforts out there, so here’s to wishing Riesser a little luck – this one deserves to catch on with home viewers.
If you’ve got an Amazon Prime account, you can catch this one right now for no additional fee.