When combining multiple sub-genres in a movie, sometimes the results can be quite disastrous. Thankfully, that’s not the case with SIGHTINGS. This film takes the cryptozoological ideas of Sasquatch, better known as Bigfoot, and combines them with extraterrestrial sci-fi leanings for an entertaining genre-bending feast.
Strange occurrences start happening in a small rural town that gets everyone on edge. Nobody seems to pay much attention to it until three dead women show up on the land of recently retired sheriff Tom Mayfield (Boo Arnold). Tom and his daughter Hannah (Tahlia Morgan) have a strained relationship due to the disappearance of Tom’s wife, Hannah’s mother, Lillian (Tiffany Heath).
Word soon spreads of the dead bodies and attracts attention. Detective Brendan Pitney (Kevin Sizemore), wacky hillbilly brother-in-law Rickey Haggard (Rawn Erickson), paranormal investigator Rebecca Otis (Stephanie Drapeau), fence installer and part-time cryptid hunter Akiro Nagi (Dante Basco), and bumbling Deputy Brian LeMoine (Jason J. Lewis) band together with the dysfunctional Mayfield family to unravel the mystery plaguing the town and rid it of it’s murderous scourge.
Right away, a frightening and mysterious tone is set with a phone call received at the 911 call center. This gives SIGHTINGS a PONTYPOOL vibe to it. This feeling of incidents being implied, but not fully visualized is continued throughout the film. There are several intriguing noises coming from the darkness, and the recently retired Sheriff has the built-in instinct to continue investigating. He might want to listen to his eccentric hillbilly brother-in-law, and accept that whatever is killing in their town might not be human, and that he shouldn’t go hunting Bigfoot alone, but that would make for a pretty short movie.
As soon as the idea of the killers not only being Sasquatch, but that they could also be aliens, SIGHTINGS reminded me of 2002 M. Night Shaymalan movie SIGNS. Between the perfectly secluded small town setting of Thorndale, to the character driven narrative, everything screamed SIGNS.
The acting in SIGHTINGS was above average for an independent genre film, and the cast was wonderful. The interaction between the characters was all very believable. Kevin Sizemore does an excellent job of portraying the asshole detective Brendan Pitney, who gets the idea that Tom is the killer, won’t let go of the idea, and continues to bark up the wrong tree. Even though character actor Dante Basco (HOOK, BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER) wasn’t one of the leads in SIGHTINGS, it was a real treat to see him own every scene that he was in.
It maybe a bit of nitpicking on my part, but the fact that in multiple flashback sequences, it’s shown that Tom never pays attention to his wife Lillian, dismays his wife’s fears as mental illness, and essentially drives her off with his typical toxic masculinity, is a slightly off-putting. If he could have just listened to his wife in the first place, and not been such a patriarchal dickhead, maybe nobody would have been killed off by an extraterrestrial Sasquatch, but I digress.
The team assembled to hunt down Bigfoot seemed archetypal. Everyone coming together and overcoming their differences had a nice classic feel to it. Think LITTLE MONSTERS, but with adults. Unfortunately, the climax of SIGHTINGS was a bit anti-climatic. There is no big reveal of the monster/alien, only brief glimpses. Also, there isn’t a whole lot of action in this movie, but there was enough plot points to keep me interested.
SIGHTINGS is a sub-genre mash-up similar to 2003’s THE UNDEAD, which combined zombies and aliens, but in this case it’s Bigfoot and aliens. I think with SIGHTINGS being light on blood, gore, and nudity it would be a film that would be appropriate for younger genre movie fans and they’d get a real kick out of it. Even if this doesn’t sound like your jam, your son, daughter, niece, or nephew might enjoy it.
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Tags: Aliens, Bigfoot, Boo Arnold, Dallas Morgan, Dante Basco, Jason J. Lewis, Kevin SIzemore, October Coast, Rawn Erickson, Stephanie Drapeau, Straight Outta Straight-To-Video, Tahlia Morgan, Tiffany Heath