Director – Shawn Burkett (Don’t Fuck in the Woods, Betsy)
Starring – Mike Pleska (Trespassing, 13 Slays Till X-Mas), Brittany Blanton (Squatch’d, Thrust), and Dale Miller (The Wicked One, Last American Horror Show)
Release Date – 2023
Rating – 3/5
I’ve been watching and reviewing films from Concept Media for around ten years now. Co-founders Shawn Burkett and Ryan Stacey were the first filmmakers to give me a chance when I was brought on to Horror Society 11 years ago now. The pair has released some killer genre films over the years and they never fell to stir up excitement from me when they announce a new film. Sometime ago Shawn started promoting his bigfoot horror film Stranded. While I’m not a believer, I do have a big interest in cryptids so I’m always open to a film in which both worlds collide.
Sadly, I started seeing less and less news about the film until it had completely skipped my mind. That changed when I started seeing press releases from Wild Eye about the DVD and digital release of the film. Around this time Shawn reached out to me to review the film. Like always, I want to thank Shawn for sending this one over.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a trio of siblings who are on a late night trip to scatter their late mother’s ashes deep in the woods. However, car trouble leaves them stranded in the middle of no-where. As animosity and attitudes collide, they soon realize they are not alone in the woods and something lurking in the dark has it’s sights set on them. **Spoiler Alert**
I knew very little about Stranded going into it. I knew it had several Concept Media regulars appearing in the film and was centered around bigfoot but that was the extent of my knowledge on the film. While I’ve seen some seriously impressive horror films centered around bigfoot, a good portion of them fail to give genre fans a memorable film with the hairy cryptid. Stranded is a decent film but it’s claustrophobic setting and lack of location makes it feel like it’s a lot longer than it actually is.
The acting in this one is solid. We have some familiar faces returning with Brittany Blanton, Scott Gillespie, Payton Pleska, and Mike Pleska along with several more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. I love how tight knit the Concept Media family is and their ability to tackle different roles when the need arises. With that being said, I didn’t care for the characters in this one. The cast does a great job with what they were given but the characters are not likable and I was expecting them all to catch a bloody death at the hands of bigfoot. It’s not often I come across a film like this because there is always one character you find yourself connecting with but this one just didn’t have one.
The story for this one works especially in an indie production standpoint. It’s revolves around one location which just happens to be someone’s car that’s parked in the woods late at night. While this is brilliant and an easy way to save money, I found it to be a bit boring. I was expecting a bit more cat and mouse in the woods with the siblings fighting for their lives. The film really needed to utilize the woods more and work on the pacing.
Finally, this is not a bloody or violent film. The movie relies heavily on atmosphere rather than practical effects. With that being said, I fucking loved the look of bigfoot. This is the best looking bigfoot I’ve seen in a horror film. It’s menacing and eats up the scene. I wish he was utilized more but I understand why his appearance was limited. Overall, Stranded is a solid entry in the bigfoot horror sub-genre but It’s nowhere near the top of my favorite Concept Media films. It’s dark, brooding, and the creature looks fantastic but a film taking place majority in a car hasn’t worked for me since The Battery. It’s still worth a watch so check it out.