Sasquatch Sunset: Planet Earth, Absurd

Sasquatch Sunset comes from the Zellner brothers whose most recent project was The Curse (from Nathan Fielder), which garnered lots of buzz and acclaim. Their work in that show worked really well and, here, that style of comedy continues.

The story of the film follows a family of Sasquatches over the course of one year. The film sees them hanging out, doing their daily activities and many of them end in physical, raunchy hilarity. The film sees all the actors in full Sasquatch makeup and they say no words. They only grunt. The group worked with a movement and mime coach to try to get their movements correct. These elements remind me of the films from The Daniels while also having a much more reserved and observational style of filmmaking and storytelling more likened to Malick or even Ken Loach, if they were trying to make an absurdist comedy. 

The editing is pretty enjoyable, using the setting they shot the film in to the fullest extent. We see the Sasquatch interact with different parts of nature and each other extensively. Everything in the space is used in shots to bring out the sense of observation that we, as the audience, experience and comedy which comes from these random cuts to and from animals and the Sasquatches. The setting itself fits the story really well, with huge trees and vast areas of greenery to bring out the natural beauty of the setting as well as the immersion in nature. In many ways, it’s made more like a Planet Earth documentary with no narration. Instead, the narrative elements come from the very absurd actions of the Sasquatches, such as pooping randomly, having sex in front of each other and creating unique sounds while sleeping. 

In many ways, it can feel like a huge prank on the audience as they may expect a story to start throughout the first hour. Every time the film seems to be building up to something, it is subverted with an immature joke that is treated as part of the Sasquatches daily routine. The fact that name actors like Eisenburg and Keough are in this film already works as a joke to the audience as their recognizable faces are covered up by Sasquatch makeup. The music is very enjoyable to listen to throughout the film as it fits the meditative, nature documentary tone of the film while also bringing a little more energy to help carry the runtime. (It’s very nice to listen to by itself and I have done that a few times already on Spotify.) Great work by The Octopus Project here.

This film feels like famous actors going out in nature and improvising whatever funny scenarios they could think of doing as Sasquatches. It feels like kids going out into the woods and pretending to be animals but they just happened to be captured on high-quality cameras and someone then decided to edit a movie out of it.

Sunset thrives from a sense of discovery and connects the audience to nature through the abnormal way that these humanistic creatures interact with the world. The performances here are very committed and capture that commitment to imagination and play that kids often display when they pretend to be different people or creatures. But, of course, it’s all professionally done to make their movements, actions and grunts appear seamless to the creatures that they try to convince the audience they are.

Due to the story’s lack of plot and the very slow documentary style it takes, the film does feel quite slow. Shots will often last longer than you think they should and that is often what the film does to bring out the humor of the situations they witness these Sasquatches in but it does make the film feel repetitive over time and the length does drag out.

Sasquatch Sunset is available in theatres on Friday, April 19th, 2024.

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