By Steph Cannon
If there’s one thing Small Town Monsters have proven they can do right, it’s their ability to pull you in and grip you tightly, like you’re a victim of one of the Cryptids they cover in their documentaries. This time, the crew is back to delve deeper into the ominous lore of sasquatch’s existence in the last frontier in ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT: LAND OF THE MISSING.
As a follow-up to their first segment of On the Trail of Bigfoot, the crew pulls back the curtain further to delve into the mysteries surrounding cases of missing persons in Alaska, and their purported link to bigfoot. Director Seth Breedlove and crew take their investigation down a much darker road than before, interviewing local experts and alleged victims and witnesses of attacks and run-ins with the infamous Hairy Man.
Just like previous productions, Land of the Missing provides a plethora of gorgeous, eye-popping scenery and sweeping shots of Alaska that is truly immersive and captivating. This is, and always has been, an enormous strength from this production team. They don’t just give you information, they unfurl it like an elegant tapestry, weaving in scenes of Alaska’s stunning mountain ranges, lakes, and terrain, providing an all-encompassing viewing experience.
Through narration, Breedlove makes clear the need for another documentary to continue investigating reports and claims of bigfoot’s presence in this part of the country, and the connection between it and the surprising number of missing persons in Alaska.
There’s no denying that Alaska is a treacherous place, and living and exploring there means taking on a certain amount of risk that those of us in other parts of the country just can’t identify with. Between extreme weather, dangerous wildlife, and the sheer vastness of the state, there’s a justifiable understanding of why there would be a large number of residents who simply vanish, never to be found.
What Land of the Missing does is travel down a more sinister road of possibility, one that is spoken about in hushed whispers and frightened campfire tales amongst locals. Documentations of attacks and sightings of bigfoot date back as far as several decades ago, and the connection between those and missing persons reports are admittedly compelling.
Breedlove interviews several locals who claim to have experienced run-ins with the legendary Hairy Man, and regardless of whether or not you choose to believe their stories, you can’t deny that every person unequivocally feels what they went through was real. This transcends conviction and realism, because each victim undoubtedly went through something traumatic, and their retelling of the incidents is a fascinating watch. Exactly what was involved in their experiences is left open for interpretation, which is what helps set Land of the Missing apart from other urban legend documentaries.
Breedlove sprinkles in eerie artwork of bigfoot that, along with the jaw-droppingly beautiful cinematography and tragic accounts of residents who have vanished without a trace, gives us a much deeper, more somber look into one of the more outrageous explanations for those mysteries.
One can only hope that Small Town Monsters can keep up the momentum they’ve successfully built with their prior films and that viewers will continue to watch with an open mind, and leave with a better understanding of what may (or may not) lurk in the far reaches of our country.
ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT: LAND OF THE MISSING is available 8/23/23 on VOD.