Wow! What a great surprise!
I was skimming through the movies available on ShowtimeAnytime the other day and noticed the poster for Exists so I clicked on it to read more info and it said:
When a group of friends on a camping trip have an accident on a desolate country road, they unwittingly unleash a bloodcurdling force of nature.
That was generic enough, so I decided to take a look on Amazon.com and IMDB.com and saw two things that were immediate "points off" for me. First, it is a "found footage" type movie and apparently involved a "killer Sasquatch". However, I also noticed it was set in the Big Thicket of East Texas (although actually filmed in Bastrop County near Austin). The Big Thicket is a perfect setting for a movie like this because there are still areas of it that are largely unexplored and extremely hard to navigate.
The movie is only 80 minutes so I figured worst case scenario I would get to give a bad review of a piece of crap and would have only wasted 80 minutes of my life and been able to save 80 minutes of someone else's (kind of a humanitarian effort).
Instead, I was pleased to find the movie was very, very enjoyable. Sure, it won't be winning any academy awards but there are no parts of the film that deserve real criticism.
The actors are, for the most part, unknowns and they do an admirable job. Their reactions are what you would realistically expect from someone encountering the situations they encounter. Annoying at times, hysterical at times, I only saw one instance that struck me as being unrealistic (right before the rocks) and most of us know someone that we would believe any one of these characters was portraying.
While the camera work was done as well as could be expcted considering it is "shaky cam", the true mark of a good crew on this type of film is the sound and that was excellent.
As far as the director, this film was done by Eduardo Sanchez, the same director who did The Blair Witch Project and so if anyone had the ability to pull off a found footage movie it should be him. I didn't realize he was the director until I started writing the review, although I had throught to myself while watching that someone was copying his style.
The story itself is pretty vanilla, but "fits". Without getting into spoilers, two brothers (one of which is the obligatory "videos everything" character) invite some friends to their uncle's cabin. They've heard that their uncle doesn't let anyone visit there because of a Sasquatch but they didn't believe the story.
From the initial incident with the creature (which is an interesting twist) the story is pretty predictable and many of the "jump out at you" bits are expected but they still succeed in making you flinch.
The ending wasn't unexpected but fit nicely into the overall film.
Overall, I'd give the movie a solid 7 out of 10. Amazon reviewers gave it a 4 out of 5 stars and IMDB reviewers have it at a 5.2 out of 10. I've noticed that IMDB reviewers often give non-gory horror films a lower rating, and I think that this movie is a good example of the tendency.
As a side note, the movie also did a good job of using parts of the wooded area around Bastrop that had suffered a devastating forest fire a few years ago. The use of this almost alien looking landscape in places set a tone which would have required some contrivance to achieve except for the act of nature which was already placed it there, waiting to be used.