Abominable (2005)

I love the idea of bigfoot. I love that in North America we have our own cryptozoological creature that some believe is stalking the forests in the pacific northwest. In general, I love monsters of every kind and I’ve traveled through bigfoot country several times so it should come as no surprise that the stink ape is one I have a particular affinity for. Bigfoot movies however almost without exception, suck. Far more often than not, they’re not entertaining at all but instead boring. Why? Because making a Bigfoot costume is a pricey proposition and so film makers often hide their beast until the very end of the movie but by this time the viewer is in a movie coma induced by a dull script. There are however, exceptions to this rule and I’m happy to say that Abominable is one such exception.

Preston Rogers (Matt Mccoy) has suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Living in a small town in the middle of a forest, he and his wife were avid rock climbers. One day while climbing their rope snapped and his wife fell to her death. He survived but as a paraplegic. Now, as part of his rehabilitation he’s been brought back to his cabin 6 months after the accident, to face the tragedy so that he can move on. Escorted by a pushy male nurse named Otis, Preston doesn’t feel ready but Otis won’t take no for an answer. While there Preston sees a large group of young women move into the house next door for a weekend of fun. He also sees something in the trees that looks malevolent. Binoculars in hand he becomes more and more frighted by this mysterious entity. Otis keeps missing everything and so he believes Preston is trying to come up with a reason to leave. Preston’s fears are confirmed with the girls are attacked by a giant sasquatch. Now Preston has to find a way to save the survivors and get away from the cabin, but how can he? He can’t walk? The film also stars Jeffrey Combs and Lance Henrikson in bit parts but of course they steal the show.

Essentially, Abominable is Rear Window with a Bigfoot for the first hour or so. The last 30 minutes are dedicated to massive squatch action that is both surprisingly scary and gory. The Bigfoot design is very strong in Abominable. It’s a guy in a suit but it’s very well done. In particular the face is striking. It looks far more human than ape, with a giant mouth and teeth to match. For this release the film had to be re-cut using the 35mm camera negative. You see, when the film was released onto dvd, it was scanned to beta and edited in standard definition. For this blu-ray release they went back to the negative, scanned it and re-edited the whole film, matching the original cuts. They didn’t change anything except the eyes of the squatch. In the original release (included on the blu ray), the eyes were much larger. Apparently the computer files needed to re-do the eyes from the original release were lost so they had to be created from scratch again anyway and the director felt that smaller eyes would match the original design better. It worked, the bigfoot looks great. He looks larger than life and very scary. The attacks are surprisingly gory too. The film’s pace is more moody and suspenseful for the first hour and then kicks into high gear for the last 30 minutes. It’s never dull however due to the strong acting and solid writing.

The blu-ray also looks fantastic. Like I mentioned, it’s a brand new scan from the original 35 mm camera negative. It has never looked better. The blu comes with the original 2005 version in standard definition for those who prefer the larger-eyed squatch. The film also includes a making-of feature, bloopers, a commentary with the director, Matt McCoy and Jeffrey Combs, deleted scenes, and a short film from the director starring Kane Hodder.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the film or if you’re already a fan of it, this release of Abominable is perfect. The film looks and sounds fantastic and the blu is packed with special features. MVD’s Rewind Collection continues to impress me. I hope they continue to release unsung genre films for a long time to come.