ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT: LAND OF THE MISSING *** USA 2023 Dir: Seth Breedlove. 77 mins
Bigfoot in the title of the film makes me think of the ‘Bionic Bigfoot’ episode of The Six Million Dollar Man television series. Oddly enough that story dealt with Government conspiracies as does one part of this On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Land Of The Missing by Seth Breedlove. Apparently, this film is a sequel to last year’s On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Last Frontier which concentrated on Bigfoot or sasquatch sightings in Alaska. I don’t want to put my Bigfoot in my mouth, but I quite enjoyed this new instalment that concentrates more on the lore and missing people.
On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Land Of The Missing features some breath-taking high-definition footage of the wilderness of the tundra, the forests, the camp trails, and the mountains of Alaska. Couple that with some persuasive testimony of local encounters and narration by Mr. Breedlove. The narration works as it doesn’t spill out empty sensational incidents but augments the events that on screen people relate. Some of these events are quite terrifying when dramatized within the film coupled with the matter-of-fact tone of the people’s statements.
The film also gives credence to the First Nations people of the land and their stories of encounters throughout the years. However, in a rugged land that Breedlove insists is ‘the last frontier and can kill indiscriminately’, you have other dangers other than Sasquatch that can make people go away.
It’s the Canadian in me that bristles at the ‘American exceptionalism‘ of Alaska being brutal as if it’s the only place on Earth when Kananaskis Country in British Columbia with its vast rivers, forests, avalanches not to mention world-class fishing, wildlife, white water rafting, camping, and hiking is next door. Every year we have people that die on the mountain because in the outside world ‘Mother Nature always bats last’, so you prepare as best you can and frankly accidents do happen even to the most seasoned people. The film does not acknowledge that there are dangerous predators like bears, coyotes, lynxes, moose, rutting deer, and cougars not just Bigfoot that wreaked havoc.
You get some interesting folklore, and it is folklore since Breedlove says effectively there is no proof so far yet goes on to relate stories of people being stalked and finding large tracks in the snow when the person has disappeared.
The best part of the film is a short examination of Port Chatham, the fishing town abandoned in the 1940s after several people were allegedly killed by Sasquatches. The remains of the town are now a bunch of ramshackle buildings and locally whispered legends. The town of Chatham should have been expanded on but it is not. You get compelling stories of a Native boy Billy Pope who disappears on a trail one night while walking home from his potential girlfriend in pitch-black darkness through the woods.
On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Land Of The Missing starts off with good intentions yet bends to Government conspiracy theories, statements by people that say they have ‘personal issues’ and odd theories about the “Black Pyramid” which is said to be inside a mountain. The building emanated energy and there is a team of people trying to study its force in Denali National Park and Preserve. Those who go to look for it are immediately killed or disappear leaving fully set camps.
On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Land Of The Missing is an interesting folklore presentation when it stays on topic. The on-camera people are all convinced of their incidents and make their stories sound compelling. Unfortunately for me, it seems to sound like a giant tourist presentation to get people to go to the region. There is nothing wrong with that as that happens all over the planet when something mystical or out of the ordinary has happened. The saving grace is the footage of the vast and mostly unspoiled rugged landscape of Alaska tundra add to that you have some local color, scary enough for some to raise the fur on the back of their necks at night around the campfire. Put your best foot or Bigfoot forward and see for yourself and make your own judgments. Just don’t bring your Chariots Of The Gods? book by Erich von Däniken with you, it may be too much.
Review by Terry Sherwood