Austin Film Festival 2019: ‘The Vice Guide to Bigfoot’ is a Hilarious Look at Online News

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Vice Guide to Bigfoot

Have you ever watched one of those two-minute videos from Vice News that is pretty much click-bait? You know, the ones that start off with an interesting premise but then it turns out being something really absurd. Well, The Vice Guide to Bigfoot begins with that as its premise before it jumps onto the real journalistic rails as Brain Emond searches for a real story to alleviate his clickbait coverage.

Directed by Zach Lamplugh and co-written by him & Emond (yes, the character’s name is his real name), The Vice Guide to Bigfoot is a hilarious mockumentary that satirizes online journalism as Edmond and his producer take the woods in search of Bigfoot. As Lamplugh’s debut feature, this paranormal comedy doesn’t skip a beat in its humor or critique of the social media age as Brian has to ask how much danger he’ll put his life in for a good story after following a prominent cryptozoologist into the Appalachian foothills.

The comedy in The Vice Guide to Bigfoot works because it’s built on moments that made me audibly sigh after laughing because: “It’s funny because it’s true.” From the clickbait commentary to the crushing reality that being an influencer with a vlog can get you farther than being an actual journalist, the film’s satire is wonderfully executed. That said, The Vice Guide to Bigfoot feels like two films given a tonal shift in the middle.

Now, this isn’t a bad thing but is something that takes adjusting to and isn’t as fluid as I would like once the adventure part of the film picks up. That said the pacing isn’t jarring, instead, the film morphs from a satirical mockumentary to The Blair Witch Project. Once removed from his surroundings, Brian’s comedy and complete lack of interest in the story shifts. He turns from the external critique of his job to interpersonal attacks towards his guide until the focus of the film moves to the situation at hand and the people and the supernatural that the group finds in the foothills.

Having come out of Adult Swim, Lamplugh has a number of animated titles under his belt, including the iconic Squidbillies – which is apparent when Brian and his team encounter mountain men. As for Emond, the focus and heart of the film, he’s a filmmaker and Comedian from Atlanta, Georgia and his ability to command a camera is undeniable.

The Vice Guide to Bigfoot is a strong first feature showing for the pair. The dry comedy and the physical comedy both work to craft an experience that feels like we’re watching someone fed up with their job. Additionally, throughout the film, Lamplugh employs different visual changes including a distortion on images after a camera falls, a YouTube video frame, and of course some stock footage, to make the footage feel freshly recorded and add to the humor. While there is a lot of it, unlike any overedited video in the genre of media that the film is satirizing it all works.

Overall, The Vice Guide to Bigfoot made me laugh, engaged me, and has me ready to see anything else that Lamplugh or Emond put out in the future.

The Vice Guide to Bigfoot will have one more screening at the Austin Film Festival on October 29th, 2019.

 

The Vice Guide to Bigfoot
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Overall, The Vice Guide to Bigfoot made me laugh, engaged me, and has me ready to see anything else that Lamplugh or Emond put out in the future.