2010 Indy Int'l Film FestivalRating: 3 of 5 yaps
Jimmy Tupper Vs. The Goatman of Bowie
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With its low-tech, handheld first-person perspective and lost-in-the-woods-with-a-monster narrative, it’s tempting to call “Jimmy Tupper Vs. The Goatman of Bowie” a “Blair Witch Project” retread.
Heck, it’s even set in Maryland, like its big brother.
And to be honest there’s not much through the majority of the film to distinguish it from that classic low-budget horror film, so the comparison really isn’t unfair at all.
The plot centers around the title character Jimmy (Andrew Bowser) a 20-something slacker who likes to party (read: get wasted) with his friends as much as possible.
After a particularly brutal bender Jimmy passes out, and two of his pals think it would be a riot to drive him out into the woods and leave him there all night.
When the next day he doesn’t show up to work, they go out looking for him. Yes, he’s alive, but he’s dirty, bruised and bloodied and has a story: he claims he woke up being dragged by a large creature who may or may not strongly resemble The Goatman, a local urban legend.
His buddies think he’s gone bonkers, but Jimmy is determined, so much so that he heads off to the woods by himself with some supplies (mostly Taco Bell and Reese’s Pieces. And a tent, of course), and his friend’s video camera, intending on capturing the beast on film.
Ironically, the first-person gimmick is wholly unnecessary and really does little for the film, especially early on. There’s no real reason for including it (switching to it when Jimmy goes out into the woods would have been more effective). Then toward the end of the film it is abandoned entirely, and not coincidentally that’s also the best part of the film.
The characters are mostly unlikable wanks, particularly Jimmy, who comes off as a colossally stupid. I suppose it makes perfect sense to surmise the Goatman would be attracted by raw bacon, marshmallows and Reese’s Pieces. This wasn’t played for comedy, but it should have been.
There are few real scares in the film until the final act, and even then the tone shifts into something resembling Sam Raimi territory (at least that’s what they were going for). But there is still a palpable amount of tension, a couple of effective (and funny) red herrings, and a nice climax.
If you are a fan of horror films using the “Blair Witch” gimmick, you might find “Jimmy Tupper” an acceptable substitute (not that this film is close in overall quality). There is fun to be had, but you have to wade through some mire to get to it.