A wildly funny, unique, and inventive found footage film, “Frogman” is a festival hit that deserves wide distribution.
Cryptids, found footage, friendship, a magic wand… if these words speak to you, then Frogman (2023) is speaking your language.
I was lucky enough to see Frogman at the Telluride Horror Show this year. At 10 am on the first full day of the fest, it was a perfect pick to set the tone for the weekend.
Frogman is the story of three friends who go into the woods in search of the infamous and elusive Frogman. When Dallas (Nathan Tymoshuk) was a young boy, he unintentionally got footage of Frogman while filming a family vacation. His goal was to become a filmmaker, and he saw this as his start.
As anyone would, he put the footage and photos online but faced a litany of scrutiny over the years. YouTubers debunked him, no one believed him, and what was a formative experience for him as a little kid became a big joke to everyone around him.
As an adult who has failed to launch and lives with his sister with no real plan, he decides once and for all to find proof of Frogman’s existence and create a thrilling documentary along the way.
His cameraman and friend, Scotty (Benny Barrett), comes along, and they convince Amy (Chelsey Grant) to join right before she moves to LA to become an actress.
Dallas and Amy have a will-they/won’t-they history, which adds to the awkwardness of the road trip.
Amy and Scotty don’t seem to believe Dallas, and they are joking around while he takes things incredibly seriously. When they make it to the town that Frogman put on the map, it’s not easy to tell who really believes and who is simply interested in making money off of tourists.
Put plainly, this movie is fun; it’s hilarious, creative, and makes use of stunning practical effects.
It ticks all the boxes for fans of found footage and mockumentary-style films: night vision, directions to “not stop filming,” questions of “why are we still filming?” and pretending the recording is off when it’s not.
Frogman is comfortable and familiar, like an old hilarious friend to fans of the format.
It’s a film that knows where it fits in the genre. It nods to The Blair Witch Project (1999) by sending one woman and two men out into the woods with handheld cameras. It has shades of Willow Creek (2013), a Bigfoot-hunting movie with a very different tone. It even nods to specific cryptozoology lore when one shopkeeper has a Frogman footprint on display (you can buy Bigfoot footprints in any self-respecting cryptid shop).
The plot takes some twists and turns, and the viewer’s loyalty to Dallas’s story can shift. But the film gives us a clear and definitive answer at the end.
Gather your own crew of cryptid enthusiasts, pop on Frogman, and decide for yourself: is he real?