Students travel into an area of wilderness in search of Bigfoot, but eventually discover there is also a dangerous supernatural spirit known as the Wendigo lurking here… and this antlered, evil presence has the power to turn people into hairless, humanoid creatures.
Director Bruce Wemple’s previous film, THE RETREAT (2020), also featured the Wendigo and its hairless minion creatures, but DAWN OF THE BEAST is more entertaining and manages to add more tension to its scenes compared to the previous flick, which shares some of the same actors. (Oh, and Wemple ALSO made the Bigfoot movie MONSTROUS in 2020).
This film is far from perfect, though, with a fuzziness concerning just how the Wendigo affects its victims: some become glowing-eyed, smooth-skinned creatures, whilst others remain people resembling possessed deadites from the Evil Dead movies. And I didn’t like the early scene where the group come across an old corpse, which they decide to ignore because it would ruin their weekend! When people make such unrealistic, stupid decisions it can really pull you out of the film.
But DAWN OF THE BEAST does have a standout moment: a third act scene where we see Bigfoot fight and kill a bunch of the Wendigo’s creatures in the woods, accompanied by a cool synth score! Nice! I do like the fact Bigfoot really kicks these creatures asses! Go Bigfoot!
I was also surprised when the feisty female character Lilly (Anna Shields – also the writer the script), who I thought was going to end up being the movie’s ass-kicking ‘final girl’, gets her arm ripped off and she is killed!
Gus (Grant Schumacher) goes on a hiking trip in the Adirondack mountains with Adam (Dylan Grunn), his more down to earth friend. Gus drinks some hallucinogenic tea, thinks he’s attacked by a monster, fights back, murders his friend, then finally succumbs to cannibalism… after which he is tormented by a horned Wendigo and other beings.
Or… is it all in his mind?
Bruce Wemple (who also made the Bigfoot movie MONSTROUS) wrote and directed this film, which you’re either going to like for the movie’s twisty, unreliable grip on what is real, or you’ll feel irritated by it because of the never-ending ‘it’s just in his imagination’ moments.
People expecting a no-nonsense creature feature will be disappointed, no doubt, but I thought the ever-more entangled mix of dreams, different versions of what might have happened, flashbacks, etc, made this little movie worth watching.
The antlered Wendigo, when seen, tends to be immobile and just lurks about, mainly in shadows or back-lit, though the other type of bald, humanoid minion-creatures get to rush about in the snow menacingly and are rather more effective.
Devoted to every kind of movie and TV monster, from King Kong to Godzilla, from the Blob to Alien.