The charming town of Pottersville has fallen on hard times since the local mill shut down, leaving the majority of residents out of work and struggling. Maynard Grieger (Michael Shannon) runs the town’s general store, as generations of his family have done since it’s founding over a hundred years before. Maynard is the very epitome of a good man, who is constantly helping townsfolks with necessities even though he knows there’s no way for anyone to repay his kindnesses. But the poor guy can’t seem to catch a break himself when one day he comes home early to find his wife Connie (Christina Hendricks) in a seriously — and bizarrely, hilariously — compromising position with the town sheriff Jack (Ron Perlman).
Broken-hearted, Maynard returns to his general store and gets blasted with local moonshine. As you do when you find out your partner has been cheating on you, at Christmas season no less. During Maynard’s inebriated romp through town, he decides to dress up as a gorilla. And the next day, with a massive emotional and physical hangover, a fuzzy headed Maynard wakes to find that Pottersville is on the news due to a Bigfoot rampage the night before.
And when Maynard realizes that “Bigfoot” has singlepawedly revitalized interest in the town, he keeps up the ruse. That is, until world famous monster hunter Brock Masterson (Thomas Lennon) helicopters into town to slay the Bigfoot on camera.
There have been lots of homage to Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and this is a particularly clever installment. The town name of Pottersville refers to the debaucherous town in George Bailey’s vision of a world without him. And in this Pottersville, Maynard has a similar reckoning with himself. While the Bigfoot gimmick can put this film into horror comedy territory, there’s nothing funny about the economic recession that sets the films backdrop. Neither is an eventual suicide attempt ala ‘Wonderful Life’ before the film’s end.
But even with these intense themes wallpapering the story, ‘Pottersville’ is an adorable Christmas story that puts a number of new spins in classic holiday fare. Michael Shannon is just lovely, and his chemistry with everyone in this ensemble cast speaks to his talents as a performer.
✨Ledger/5 stars. Highly recommend this under-the-radar Christmas story, streaming free on Tubi.✨
Zuzu Zombie’s #Horrorthon365 project is a collection of eclectic genre watchlists with accompanying microreviews to suit the changing seasons. Horrorthon365 was sparked by a gnarly hand injury and carpal tunnel surgery gone awry, hence the flash-style reviews. After a wicked fall at home and brutal elbow fracture that required surgery, posts will be sporadic until I’m healed. In the meantime, browse the entire collection here.