Grabbing At Smoke
Monsters Among Us
Is bigfoot real? Tales of the unknown have been with us for a long time and the tale of sasquatch – a man-sized, intelligent primate lurking about in the woods – is one that’s stood the test of time in the US. Nestled deep in the heart of Emerald City, Hulu’s Sasquatch dives deep into this legend, investigating a triple homicide that may or may not be connected to the creature.
Split across three episodes, the series follows investigative journalist David Holthouse as he sets out to solve this bizarre case that’s been eating away at him for 25 years. With a history of infiltrating different groups, including Neo Nazis and cannabis farmers, David starts at ground zero and begins piecing together what happened back in 1993.
The tumble down this rabbit hole begins with David’s own personal recollection of a rainy night in ’93. Working on a cannabis farm, a panicked worker rushed into the farmhouse he was inside. Listening from the sofa, hushed voices soon turn panicked as this man reveals three guys have been ripped limb from limb. With blood staining the cannabis leaves outside, he proclaims that bigfoot is responsible.
Fast forward to present day and David Holthouse decides to set out to see if this story really holds any weight. Did three people actually die? Was it really bigfoot? Or is there something else going on? As David travels deep into the Redwoods in Sasquatch territory, he slowly pieces together the events from that night.
Interestingly, all three episodes take a slightly different stance toward this story. The first is solely about bigfoot, including any evidence regarding its existence. From the Paterson-Gimli film in the 70’s through to various footprints, Sasquatch enthusiasts and believers give their impassioned reasons for why this creature exists.
Episode 2 then shifts the focus slightly and centers on the theme of paranoia – and those who believe it doesn’t exist. Here we see the history of Redwood County and Emerald Triangle as a whole, including the infamous war on drugs in the 70’s.
This Nixon policy essentially turned cannabis farming into a dangerous and paranoia-inducing trade. Could paranoia and mental instability have been the culprits?
The final episode, with an extended run-time of 52 minutes, then ties both these claims together as David begins piecing everything together. I won’t spoil anything here but there’s actually a pretty good resolution to this one.
Alongside the investigative work of David Holthouse are numerous cartoon re-enactments from the cannabis farms and David’s recollected story. It works pretty well too, although at times the series has a tendency to repeat certain sequences repeatedly.
The blood-stained cannabis leaves for example, show up in every single episode and are a recurring motif. There are also shots of the farmhouse and a few establishing shots that are repeated too. However, this is a minor gripe in what’s otherwise a compelling watch.
What’s particularly interesting here though is the overarching questions about monsters and humanity in general. What does make a monster? Could this be exploited for personal gain? And how far are you willing to go for the truth? It’s a fascinating idea and one that really helps this doc stand out.
Despite what the title may imply bigfoot is only half of what this show is really about. In reality, Sasquatch tackles the similarities between man and monster, what really makes a tale like bigfoot so absorbing, and what it means to fight for the truth when all hope looks lost. Does bigfoot really exist? We’ll leave it up to you to decide!
Sasquatch releases on Hulu April 20th 2021!
Verdict - 8/10