“Sasquatch Sunset” is the kind of movie you need to see to believe.
Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough star in the absurdist comedy, which premiered on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival. The film follows a family of Yetis over the course of a year. The film, which has zero dialogue or narration but plenty of grunts, captures an immersive, “true” depiction of the daily life of the Sasquatch. That apparently involves sex, masturbation, vomiting, flatulence and plenty of other gory acts that aren’t fit to print.
A smattering of audience members appeared to be too squeamish about these quotidian experiences, shielding their eyes during bloody moments and stomping for the exit at the Eccles Theater well before the credits began to roll. Others delighted in the gastrointestinally graphic sequences. One scene, involving bodily fluids spouting out of every — and we mean every — orifice of the female Bigfoot, played to raucous applause in the room. Less than 15 minutes into the film, one moviegoer announced, to nobody in particular, “This is the weirdest movie ever.”
Directors David Zellner and Nathan Zellner probably wouldn’t argue with that assessment. Earlier in the day, the filmmakers told Variety that “Sasquatch Sunset” is “one of the craziest things we’ve ever done.”
The brothers, returning to the festival with their fifth feature film, confessed to the crowd that they had a lifelong fascination with Bigfoot. In fact, “Sasquatch Sunset” is the second Yeti-based movie the Zellners have brought to Sundance. The pair came to Park City in 2011 with the short surrealist film “Sasquatch Birth Journal 2,” which depicts the birth of the hairy creature. They talked to professionals to get all the furry details right.
“We worked with primatologists and anthropologists,” David Zellner said while introducing the movie. “Everything in this film is 100% authentic to how Sasquatches are in real life — even the weird stuff. Just trust us.”
Eisenberg, Keough and the rest of the cast spent several hours in the makeup chair to transform into Bigfoot. “The costumes were really hard to move in,” Keough griped. “Jesse and I complained the whole time.”
In a Q&A following the screening, an audience member asked about preparing for erotic sequences. “I’m so excited for this question,” Keough cracked before the man even finished his inquiry.
“We rehearsed our sex scenes, and they have it on video,” she revealed.
David Zellner added, “We used a trash can as a stand-in.”