Amidst lazy summer days of laser-tag and medieval sword-fighting, Gavin Gore and his group of nerdy friends discover what appear to be Bigfoot tracks while hiking through the woods near his house. As they wait for Bigfoot expert Dr. Artimus Snodgrass (a pretentious, over-the-top scientist played by Carl Weathers) to verify the legitimacy of the bewildering tracks, they pass the time playing video games while trying to escape antagonization from a group of neighborhood bullies. Meanwhile, Gavin’s metal-rocking neighbors concoct absurd money-making schemes in order to escape massive credit card debt and save their beloved Camaro from repossession.
Working from an absolutely airtight script, writer/director Tim Skousen and producer/editor Jeremy Coon garner amazing performances from an extremely talented cast. Justin Long transforms into the character of Zerk, the leader of the metal-rocker duo, so well that he is nearly unrecognizable, playing seamlessly off of Joey Kern’s depiction of his shirtless, spacey counterpart while they debate the financial possibilities of painting thrift-store furniture white and calling it “shabby-chic” in order to sell it online. Meanwhile, Jeremy Sumpter’s portrayal of sixteen-year-old Gavin is the perfect mixture of awkward and over-confident. Other performance highlights include Hubbel Palmer in the role of Hobie, the older nerd who refuses to grow up and therefore spends his time with a bunch of teenage kids, Addie Land as Gavin’s weight-obsessed love interest Sophie, John Gries as the town’s sheriff, and, of course, a cameo by John Heder.
The story is impressively complex, pulling together several different plot lines into one as each group of kids is affected by the discovery of the tracks. Skousen’s use of non-chronological storytelling – imagine Pulp Fiction as a ludicrous comedy – allows the film to explore each character in depth while still driving the plot forward. Each “chapter” of the story opens with a comic-book style illustration, affording just enough of a glimpse into the events to come to keep viewers interested and wondering what kind of non-sequitor twist will lead to the next event.
Carrying an absurd yet totally deadpan tone reminiscent of “Napoleon Dynamite,” nothing is too strange – yet it is the script that really makes this film a success. Full of quotable lines and totally unique characters, “The Sasquatch Gang” blends classic elements of fantasy, teen-angst and coming-of-age tales to create a genre all its own. And through it all, the movie is undeniably wholesome. This film is an instant hit; several parts of it made me laugh so hard I was crying, and I’ve been quoting it pretty much non-stop ever since.