THE BACK 80 (2017)
Call it what you want Bigfoot, Sasquatch or Oh-Mah the idea of a hairy, humanoid creature living deep in the woods has been a popular one. Apart from countless fictional films, it’s also a popular subject of documentaries. From the nature films of the 70s documenting the search for this elusive creature and that has continued on to the present day. There’s even a TV show, FINDING BIGFOOT that’s run for six seasons and still going. Which brings us to THE BACK 80 from Alan Megargle and Jesse Morgan.
THE BACK 80 details a rash of sightings of a strange creature in rural Ohio in 2013. Suzanne sees a strange creature leaping across the road in front of her Jeep. Then she hears strange screams and calls in the night. Her obsession with finding out what the creature is leads her to The Back 80, an area of forest leased out to hunters and the most likely home for these creatures.
The film is as much focused on the effects the sighting had on Suzanne and those around her as it is on the creature itself. THE BACK 80 goes into the effects of realizing she and her husband weren’t alone on their property. And then once she was past the fear of what it might be, her obsessive need to know what the creature was.
There are interviews not just with Suzanne but with other locals who’ve seen odd things in the woods as well. Most interesting is a hunter who’s run across many oddities over the years, including what appears to be what was left of deer the creature had dined on.
The most prolific filmmaker in the cryptozoology field is Seth Breedlove (THE FLATWOODS MONSTER: A LEGACY OF FEAR, INVASION ON CHESTNUT RIDGE). Megargle and Morgan got their start on Seth’s early Sasquatch documentary MINERVA MONSTER. They’ve adopted Seth’s short running time and fast pace to keep things interesting. They don’t, however, make use of the creepily animated recreations he does. The sound effects and occasional shots of a guy in a monkey suit are not nearly as effective.
THE BACK 80 is still an enjoyable film for those interested in this kind of film. And at just over an hour it’s a small investment of your time. I should note, credits hit at the 52-minute mark, but there are nearly ten minutes of investigation footage after them.