Aren’t we sick to death yet of found-footage horror movies? Can audiences endure any more shaky-cam shots of teary-eyed semiprofessional actors sniveling in forests? Bigfoot-hunting mock-doc Willow Creek sticks so close to the Blair Witch template that at times it feels like a remake: Central couple Jim (Bryce Johnson) and Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) may seem smarter than your average slasher victims, but it doesn’t stop them from wandering off into the woods against the strict instructions of an angry hillbilly.
But thankfully, this is the work of writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait, whose pitch-black comedy World’s Greatest Dad is one of the unsung masterpieces of the past decade. He’s slumming here, but the result is still a cut above average: The script is witty, and his use of sound and silence is skilled and suspenseful, particularly in an epic, truly terrifying 19-minute single-take sequence in a camping tent. Willow Creek doesn’t bring us anywhere new—the climax is abrupt and unsatisfying—but it’s a whole lot of jarring, shuddering fun while it lasts.