Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend (Review)

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BIGFOOT ATE MY BOYFRIEND

THE SETUP

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Writer/Director, Richard Mogg for allowing me early access to an online screener of his new Adventure/Horror/Comedy, “Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend”. This review is based upon a compressed file I viewed and the final product may differ somewhat. Mogg is the creator of “RickMoe Productions”, a company dedicated to DIY (do it yourself), micro-budget film making since 2010. I’ve purchased several films from RickMoe over the past twelve months (most of which still remain in their plastic but will be watched and reviewed at some point). My introduction to Mogg came after I reviewed his most recent film “Massage Parlor Of Death” *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/massage-parlor-of-death-review/. I recommend you read said review, as it’s a guide for what’s in store for you with a Richard Mogg production (if you didn’t already know). Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend sees John Saurius (played by Kirk Munaweera of “Massage Parlor Of Death”), an ex-cop (I think?) and self-proclaimed tracker looking for payback, team up with former TV child star, Jimmy Johnson (Kevin Paynter) to hunt the mysterious and violent beast known as “Bigfoot”. The film also stars Lauren Richardson, Meghan Kinsley, Richard Mogg and Lloyd Kaufman.

THE GOOD

It’s clear from the outset that Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend is a throwback to the creature feature/monster b movie’s of the 50’s. Richard adds a personal touch to each of his films by following a specific style of presentation, a look similar to the days of bootleg SOV films (shot on video). Films like Nathan Juran’s, “Attack Of The 50ft Woman” and Jack Arnold’s genre defining, “Creature From The Black Lagoon” helped put the classic “monster movie” on the map. It goes without saying, the genre we know today was initially shaped by the works of prolific science fiction film maker, Roger Corman (Swamp Woman and Attack Of The Crab Monsters). In recent years there’s been several films sincerely attempt to explore the legend of Bigfoot but nothing quite like Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend. I’ve always felt the subject matter was inane but if there is room for it, that room is certainly in the comedy genre. “Attack of the Gorilla” is the only thing I’ve reviewed on the site that even slightly resembles a Bigfoot film and it was below par. What I like most about Richard Mogg is the enthusiasm he has for these crazy little ideas. Above all else, his passion is evident by the personable and candid remarks at the beginning of this film, more or less willing the audience to just have fun with it all.

Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend opens with several trailers, much the same as your old VHS rentals did. The trailers are for Mogg’s other films “Massage Parlor Of Death”, “Easter Bunny Bloodbath” and “Teenage Slumber Party Nightmare”. If you take off the 7 minutes of trailers and the film’s closing credits, it only runs about 60 minutes and for a film like this that’s a perfect length. There’s some nice early establishing shots of the fields (or do I dare say parkland haha) and all the framing is consistent. The shot choices are pretty stock standard but the one thing Mogg does use well (and entertainingly overuse might I add) is the mandatory soap opera zoom. You know the one you see on The Bold and the Beautiful anytime the drama’s about to heat up… One conversation between John and Sheriff Baily (Richardson) alternates with a zoom in and zoom out and it’s hilariously pointless. The audio levels are pretty decent given the shoestring budget (made up of $500 in chump change) and the synth score during the attempted suspense (haha), is very 80’s arcade game and damn cool. The highlight of the music is definitely the opening and closing track of the film, a pop rock piece of music that sounds great. This is a film about Bigfoot so I’ll assume you probably don’t care as much about the technical stuff and just want to know what the hairy bastards like, Right? Well there’s no sugar-coating that it’s clearly a guy in a suit and micro-budget funds don’t even allow for a guy in a “good suit”. It is what it is but I still respect the willingness to go practical with the effects.

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The above image is just a promotional still shot from the movie (Doesn’t actually appear in the film itself)

There’s a handful of characters and in turn, Actors and Actresses in Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend that I really enjoyed watching. I thought the best performance actually came from the lovely Meghan Kinsley, playing “Julie”, a sexy and confident actress who lands a gig accompanying Jimmy Johnson (Paynter) as he attempts to hunt Bigfoot. Kinsley seemed like she had to try a little harder than everyone else to get to those cheesy over the top heights… or are they lows? I dunno, which is it? I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not but it happened all the same (haha). Then there’s news reporter, Chet Brockwell (played by Mogg himself) and I use the term “news” pretty loosely. He spends all of his screen time pretending to navigate the grounds searching for Bigfoot while reporting live. Richard plays the stereotypical role with great conviction and it’s a blast to watch, I particularly like his  line “If you’re in the woods, stay at home” (in relation to the danger of Bigfoot haha).  If there’s one reason to watch Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend it’s definitely for former child star actor, Jimmy Johnson, hilariously portrayed by Kevin Paynter. His attire, made up of white “Vanilla Ice” inspired shorts and a ridiculously busy flower covered shirt, give you some sort of idea of the intent for this kung-fu kid. Paynter does his best, albeit far more squinty and exaggerated impersonation of a stiff, Benedict Cumberbatch and its pure gold. He can be seen on several occasions trying his damnedest not to laugh.

During Chet’s news reporting, sketches of the Bigfoot and his footprint are shown to the viewer and they are hilarious. They’ve clearly been drawn poorly for laughs (probably by Mogg himself) and it works. Every time someone (usually Sheriff Baily or Jimmy Johnson) comes across a body they rant about how disfigured it is, or talk about certain body parts being missing and how gruesome it all looks, yet Mogg doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact these actors/actresses are just lying on the ground playing dead (haha). With a budget this minuscule, it should come as no surprise that there’s nothing in the way of blood and gore. I’m sure most of what Mogg does is intentional, including the continuous cycle of our lead trio, wandering through the same stretch of parkland for the entire duration of the film.

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The above image is in its raw form and may differ in the finished version of the film.

THE BAD

A majority of the films issues, not only with plot points but technical problems too, could probably fall under both the good and bad headings. It will depend a lot on your ability or even want, to identify with something like this. I’ve already given several examples of continuity related points but another one would be the clear differences between the type of days it was shot on. We have shots of characters walking through the brush on an extremely overcast day, then the very next minute, finding a clearing where suddenly the sun shines on their faces and into the frame. It’s obvious that there was no effort made to keep the shooting days consistent weather wise (I don’t know if it was intentional or not). The wind is another factor wreaking havoc throughout Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend. Once again, there are certain sequences where the air is still but an abrupt scene change sees it start going ballistic. These problems arise in independent film making, so it’s no real surprise but when there’s no dialogue or action it’s basically all you can hear. Some of the foley was pretty bad, especially the gun effects and fight choreography hits. I’ve heard sound replacement isn’t that difficult if you have good editing software, maybe Mogg just doesn’t, or like everything else, it could be bad on purpose. Given what I know about the details of the story, I’ll assume the roaring sound of Bigfoot at the beginning was John Saurius’s psyche getting the best of him, either way it was a weak introduction to start the film. My biggest issue audio wise is the same one I had with “Massage Parlor Of Death”, all the actors/actresses yelling and screaming sounded harsh and constantly peaked out.

There’s a lot of ham-fisted dialogue here and make what you will of its delivery. One example, Baily’s line “Alright shall we go to the crime scene?”, to which Saurius half nods, as Baily reply’s with “Sounds good”. Surely I don’t have to tell you that police don’t talk like that, do I? At this point you’re probably thinking critiquing the lines of dialogue in a campy film called Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend is a bit much, well yeah…. it probably is but cheesy story aside, at least some of the dialogue has to sound remotely believable. Chanelle Fraser’s (I think?), “Brooke” attempts panic and terrified screams in the beginning of the film which were quite bad. She screams “Bigfoot ate my boyfriend”… hence the title of the film. I don’t know, maybe she was doing her best to challenge some of those opening performances by actresses in any number of the SyFy original films, or it may have just been a bad performance, probably best not to assume anything. On the plus side, it’s rare in a movie of this nature (with this budget) that someone writes multiple entertaining and likable characters, unfortunately that also highlights the ones that aren’t entertaining or likable. In this case, Lauren Richardson is that actress playing that character. The Sheriff wasn’t an entertaining character and Richardson’s hollow performance didn’t work. I could be wrong but it didn’t seem like she was having much fun, everybody else’s energy was quite apparent. It’s a small thing but I could have done without seeing the defecation sequence, I think toilet humor has grown tiresome now that I’m getting older.

There’s countless continuity flaws but most of them get a laugh, whether that was the intention or not. Sheriff Baily never actually dials the phone when she makes a call and even the angle the scenes are shot from make it seem as though the phone isn’t even plugged in (which I’m quite sure is the case haha). What’s more is that the same pink phone is used on separate occasions by both Jimmy Johnson and John Saurius. Additionally, Mogg likes to use the same locations because it’s obviously cheaper but that can be a problem if you can have back to back scenes in different places but shoot them in the one place. There’s a scene where John is sitting on his couch, hung over, watching the news (the same pink phone in frame). The very next scene is of Jimmy Johnson in the same place, next to the same phone, watching the same TV but this time the couch position is slightly different (haha). In another scene, Baily’s in her office (Mogg’s kitchen haha), there’s no hiding that this isn’t an office, no attention to detail to make it look like a cop’s office because well… detail usually costs money. You’ll either be able to accept the fact The Sheriff has no uniform just a badge (and a pretty terrible one at that), or you won’t. You’ll be able to take heavily bearded Mogg as a doctor in a hospital (his bedroom, no IV fluid displayed among other things) when moments before he was playing news reporter, Chet Brockman, or you won’t. You wouldn’t think Baily’s character design could be bested, enter Kirk Munaweera (a RickMoe productions regular), playing a slightly more serious character and doing a decent job. Here’s a guy whose donned a brown sports jacket, with a white t-shirt you’d be embarrassed to wear to bed and coordinated those with gym shorts and a pair of runners (haha). I suppose he was a bit of a deadbeat so maybe that is how you present yourself in that situation but it’s ridiculous all the same.

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When it comes to writing a fair and informative critique, they don’t come much harder than Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend. It’s such a difficult film to gauge a proper reading on and your opinion of it will be determined by several very different factors. I think Richard Mogg seems like an incredibly nice guy. I’ve got a lot of time for him and plenty of respect for his passion for this very specific style of film. He didn’t actually have a written script for this one, just an outline of what he wanted to do. So he grabbed his crew (basically himself) and his friends and cast members and went out to the woods and made it happen. Some of you will find it that obvious that he didn’t have a script and probably judge the film solely based on that but I urge you not to because there’s still fun to be had. The camera work is pretty good, especially the constant zooming played for laughs and the dialogue audio is nice and clear. I like the synth score and the pop rock title track and I’m always going to respect the practical costume rather than some terrible CG (even though the costume is cheesy as hell). Whether it was Mogg’s intention or not, most of the continuity issues were a lot of fun to laugh at and the characters were extremely entertaining. Meghan gives the film some sex appeal and delivers a pretty straight sort of performance and Mogg plays the news reporter shtick to a t. Kevin Paynter’s portrayal of a washed up child star, hands down wins him the M.V.P. I dug his brief but memorable role in “Massage Parlor Of Death” and once again he’s terrible in the best possible way.

The piercing screams and yelling got the best of me and the changes in weather patterns from scene to scene became a bit distracting, the film needed some better editing. Some of the dialogue was poor and I really didn’t enjoy any of the scenes involving Sheriff Baily and consequently Richardson (her continuity fun aside). The big thing missing for me was some much-needed blood and gore and in fact, just an all around better presentation of the action. In the end Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend is what it is. What it is, is a $500 film and a very different one at that, certainly aimed at a specific audience. I simply can’t recommend this from a great film making standpoint because how could you possibly make a great product on this type of money, it just can’t be done. On the other hand I can’t tell you to steer clear of this, because I think if you’re looking for a lot of laughs and to just have fun for an hour, then it’s well worth your time. It was most entertaining and definitely not a waste of the hour. Mogg is god among the dollar store film makers, so I’m about to do something I’ve never done before and in fact didn’t even do for his previous film (which cost less to make) and that’s give it two different type of ratings. For now, stay tuned for more reviews of other RickMoe Productions in the future.

My rating for “Bigfoot Ate My Boyfriend” is both 2/10 and 6.5/10 (make of it what you will)

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