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‘Sasquatch Sunset’ Review: A Crudely Poignant Journey

Sasquatch Sunset genuinely shocked me. After premiering at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, with plenty of walkouts being reported, I became interested in this film. As soon as I saw one of my favorite directors, Ari Aster, attached as an executive producer I knew I had to see this as soon as possible. 

This review contains minor spoilers for Sasquatch Sunset.

‘Sasquatch Sunset’: A Crudely Poignant Journey (Review)
Sasquatch Sunset / Image Courtesy of Bleecker Street

Sasquatch Sunset is directed by brothers David & Nathan Zellner — who have directed the second, third and fourth episodes of Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie’s The Curse. Sasquatch Sunset stars Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg, who are also attached as producers, the film has immense talent behind it and proves that from the first frame.

Immediately as the film begins, audiences are treated to such beautiful imagery of the Pacific Northwest, as the entrancing score approaches all around you, I knew I would be in for something truly special. Scored by The Octopus Project, the music in the film is grandiose, whilst also being incredibly melancholy. 

The auditory and visual aspects of the film are remarkable, with scenes that include underwater photography, they look and sound amazing. The film was shot by Michael Gioulakis, who has worked with directors such as Jordan Peele, David Robert Mitchell, and M. Night Shyamalan, to name a few. 

‘Sasquatch Sunset’: A Crudely Poignant Journey (Review)
Sasquatch Sunset / Image Courtesy of Bleecker Street

The film takes a very distant approach to most of the shots, having a lot of wide shots throughout contributes to the main theme of the film: loneliness. As I mentioned earlier with the opening establishing shots of the Pacific Northwest, you see how baron it is with Sasquatch. 

Other than the four family members of the Sasquatch we follow in the film, they are the only ones we see, besides the occasional mountain cougar or skunk. Taking place over a year and without dialogue, we see so many different aspects of the daily life of the Sasquatch. Mating, grooming, finding food, building shelter; we see all of it. 

If juvenile things don’t make you laugh then I wouldn’t recommend this film to you, I genuinely don’t know WHO I would recommend this film to. There are so many sequences that recycle the same formula: Sasquatch discovers something and the scene ends with them either pissing, shitting, or trying to eat/have sex with what they’re observing. This formula is recycled throughout the 88-minute runtime, yet it never grew stale to me. 

The absurdity of each sequence is the kind of humor I love the most, as somebody who prefers humor coming from insane situations, I was constantly laughing so hard my stomach hurt after the film. After seeing the first trailer for the film, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. The disgusting and unabashed nature of the trailer drew me in, but I had no idea I would be near tears at the end of the film (and no, not from laughter). 

‘Sasquatch Sunset’: A Crudely Poignant Journey (Review)
Sasquatch Sunset / Image Courtesy of Bleecker Street

Where I think this film succeeds most is in its dramatic aspects, While I was consistently laughing throughout, there were plenty of sequences that showed just how lonely the Sasquatch is. As I said earlier we see all of the facets of the Sasquatch lifestyle, including birth and death. There is a sequence towards the middle of the film where a Sasquatch is buried, we see the family mourn the loss in such a realistic way, acting like how humans deal with loss, you feel like these creatures are not far descendants from our species. 

As the family tries to stay together during a mournful time, the Mother Sasquatch played excellently by Riley Keough (I’m going to refer to her now as “Mama Squatch”) is the film’s emotional anchor, conveying so much hurt in her eyes, but continuing to search for other Sasquatch to ensure a future for her children. 

As the lonely family treks across the Pacific Northwest, they discover man-made creations for the first time, while the interactions the Sasquatch have with things like a boombox or a road play out hilariously, there is such somber subtext to the bigger picture of the film. The world has moved on from the heyday of these creatures, and due to humanity’s cruelty, it is the sunset of their existence. 

‘Sasquatch Sunset’: A Crudely Poignant Journey (Review)
Sasquatch Sunset / Image Courtesy of Bleecker Street

Overall, I thought this was a beautiful film that made me look at deforestation and climate issues with new eyes. I loved this and recommend watching it if you want to see something truly unique.

Sasquatch Sunset is directed by Nathan & David Zellner, written by David Zellner, and stars Riley Keough, Jesse Eisenberg, Nathan Zellner, and Christophe Zajac-Denek. It was produced by Ari Aster’s Square Peg Films, with Keough and Eisenberg serving as producers, and distributed by Bleecker Street.

Sasquatch Sunset premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival before release on April 12th, 2024 in NYC/LA before expanding nationwide on April 19th.

If you liked this review, feel free to check out some of our other articles here at Feature First. Thanks for reading!