Willow Creek appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. “Found footage” movies always look mediocre, and that was the case here.
But since I expected that, I couldn’t complain. Parts of the film actually appeared pretty good, as daytime camcorder shots demonstrated nice definition and vivacity. However, interiors tended to be softer and muddier, and “night vision” elements were thick and bland. Those tended to display moderate artifacts as well.
Given all the forest footage, colors tended toward the green side of the street and generally looked a bit heavy. Daytime town shots were more accurate and used a sandier feel. Blacks seemed somewhat dense, while shadows showed a bit of murkiness.
Again, none of this was a surprise – or a problem. A movie that purported to be captured by consumer electronics shouldn’t offer stellar visuals, so the inconsistent sharpness, colors and blacks made sense. Given the inherent blandness of the image, I didn’t feel comfortable with a grade above a “C+”, but I thought the Blu-ray captured the source appropriately.
Whereas some other “found footage” films featured broad soundscapes, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Creek seemed mostly monaural. For the majority of the film, the audio stayed firmly in the front center channel. Matters expanded in a mild manner as the film progressed, which meant some use of the sides and rears, but those moments did little to expand the soundfield and passed quickly. I felt fine with that given the nature of the material.
We got no score of any sort and effects were minor. These seemed adequately captured given that they were supposed to sound like they were recorded with consumer-grade electronics. Speech was fairly natural and concise; some lines got buried but that felt appropriate. Nothing here impressed but the audio worked for the story.
A handful of extras fill out the disc, and we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait and actors Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins and development, cast, characters and performances, settings and locations, camerawork and the movie’s format, and related subjects.
For the most part, the track satisfies. It fizzles some during the movie’s second half, and we get a bit too much happy talk along the way. Still, we learn a fair amount about the film and the participants keep matters interesting, so this ends up as a good chat.
One deleted scene lasts four minutes, 32 seconds. This clip shows an interview with “Bigfoot expert Cliff Barackman”. While not a fascinating sequence – and saddled with bad audio recording – it does tell us how Jim knew an alternate route into the Bigfoot site.
Next comes a featurette called The Making of Willow Creek. It runs 11 minutes, 27 seconds and provides Bryce Johnson’s footage from the set. The segment concentrates on the creation of the Bigfoot prints seen in the movie. I normally like behind the scenes material, but this reel lacks much substance.
The disc opens with ads for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and LFO. We also get the trailer for Creek.
With Willow Creek, we greet a fairly good entry in the “found footage” genre. While I can’t say it mesmerizes, the film maintains a tense atmosphere and delivers in the end. The Blu-ray provides acceptable audio and picture as well as a few good bonus materials. Both the Blu-ray and the movie work for me.