Review: “The Fiancé” Love Hurts With A Bizarre Twist On Bigfoot
By Nicholas Spacek
Director Mark Allen Michaels’ The Fiancé is an interesting feature, with an intriguing combination of Bigfoot movie meets Russian mobster flick. When there’s also elements of reality TV and a romantic backstory, the film could’ve easily been an absolute mess, but the various pieces form an intriguing pattern which manages to sustain interest and entertain for the entirety of the film.
The Fiancé is a little wobbly at its outset, but as the feature settles in, the myriad elements begin to come together into a tense, bloody flick. The slow start is a bit uncomfortable, but once the movie gets rolling, it really makes the most of its concept. The Russian mob aspect is explored in conjunction with flashbacks to protagonist Michael’s (Dallas Valdez) romance with Sara (Carrie Keagan).
It nicely plays up the contrast between the lovey-dovey early days of the couple and the literal battle which occurs after Sara is bitten by something in the woods, after which she turns into a monster and does some really horrible damage to Michael — seriously, it’s a “goodbye, fingers; goodbye, toes” moment which only foreshadows the eventual conclusion.
For every bit of gore, though, there’s a lot of telling, but not showing — the local radio station acts kind of like a Greek chorus, as well as quite a bit of expository dialogue — but the earlier attacks are set up fairly fell, in terms of cutting away at just the right moment to let the theater of the mind take over the heavy lifting. It’s a job made easier by the fact that the locations are really gorgeous, and they didn’t skimp on the settings.
There are some aspects of this film which might seem strange: most notably, Sara contracts some aspect of Bigfoot-ism via a bite, meaning that the movie’s more like a werewolf film than your standard Sasquatch feature. It’s actually really refreshing, considering a battle in a well-appointed country house is far more entertaining than the usual dimly-glimpsed howling creatures in a darkened wood.
Firebreathing Films has a really fine feature here with Michaels’ The Fiancé, and while the opening moments might lead the viewer to feel concern as to where The Fiancé is headed, any feelings of unease regarding the plot are soon assuaged by a bevy of well-done action sequences and clever use of flashbacks.
Composer Mark Barnett’s score is excellent, which is a good thing, given its rather omnipresent nature. It’s in pretty much every scene, and one feels like it’s all-consuming. It is, but it keeps the tension heightened, and the means by which the score switches between horror movie tautness and the sweet romance helps The Fiancé stay on its rather strange course.
Also, props to the filmmakers for including a very strange animated short before the film. William Reliford’s Bigfoot Vs Bunny is similar to the classic 1969 animated short, Bambi Meets Godzilla, and despite biting the original almost completely, it does an excellent job of setting the rather irreverent and strange tone which is the film that follows.
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