There is something undeniably eerie about found footage films that delve into the mythologies we once loved and believed in. They offer a glimpse into a parallel universe of “what ifs” – what if Bigfoot actually exists? What if trolls really roamed around Norway? What if the slit-mouthed lady chased civilians in broad daylight? These questions have been answered to some extent, thanks to the power of found footage films.

But what about those myths that are not so familiar in mainstream media? One of which is the Peeping Tom of Maryland. In Butterfly Kisses, we are presented with an unsettling scenario where the legend torments the protagonists in a very torturous way – they cannot blink at all. However, what about unfamiliar myths that do not seem scary at all? This is where Frogman comes in.


Frogman (2023)

The plot of Anthony Cousins’ directorial debut is similar to every other found footage plot about cryptids. A trio of friends embark on one final filmmaking endeavour to capture the elusive cryptid Frogman on camera. But as they dig deeper for answers, everything becomes a lot more intriguing and treacherous.

However clichéd the plot may sound, what makes it interesting is that it markets a mythological creature that is unfamiliar and yet both weird and eerily intriguing. The people of Loveland have only a few recorded encounters with Frogman in real life, where one of its famous sightings was debunked as a sighting of a giant, lost iguana. With that being said, it’s really a challenge for the director to come up with something that would make Frogman appalling and believable than a laughing stock. Using the found footage genre is a clever way to make this work.


Frogman (2023)

Although it seems unlikely, the film does a great job of making Frogman undeniably unnerving, thanks to its surprising special effects and world-building. The film harnessed the inherent peculiarities of frogs—their bizarrely extending tongues, their icky sliminess, and the bluster of disorienting croaks and ribbits that pierce the silence of the night. These characteristics were ingeniously integrated into the film’s aesthetic, synergizing perfectly with the gritty texture of the footage captured by the camera and the foreboding and isolating forest and caves they ventured into.

Without giving away any spoilers, the first footage of Frogman caught on camera is the stuff of nightmares. Imagine a bipedal frog creeping up on you while you are lost with your family. That alone could make a whole new movie. But this scary encounter becomes the trigger for Dallas, played by Nathan Tymoshuk, to prove to everyone that the croak is not a hoax.


Frogman (2023)

What also makes their reiteration of Frogman worth rewatching is that some of the instances in the film are based on true stories. For example, Frogman is often seen on the road, and he yields a magic wand, just like in the very first recorded encounter. The filmmakers also maximized the myth that frogs can spread warts, which actualized the myth and made Frogman even scarier than its visual effects.

Even though the film appears to have been made on a tight budget, it does not let Frogman become an enigma that only shows up without any impact. Instead, it expands the lore of the Frogman, which, in turn, cements Frogman’s scariness in the film. With nuggets of scary encounters leading to a face-off that will catch you off guard, the film makes Frogman’s existence seem so tangible and acceptable that it becomes a real threat to the protagonists and Loveland as well.


Frogman (2023)

Like any other found footage film, Frogman has a boring side story to make up for the time without the Frogman on screen. The love interest is the least exciting part of the entire film because it feels out of place. A better replacement for it would have been to keep Dallas’ sister as a crucial part of the story since Loveland seemed to have a grasp between the siblings.

I think it’s safe to assume that we are past the era of found footage films about cryptids that do not show them. The sub-genre is now learning that its purpose is to show what is not usually seen rather than just giving us a sneak peek after an hour and a half of waiting. We wanted Frogman, and they gave us Frogman!



Frogman (2024) is available to purchase on limited-edition VHS release here (unfortunately sold out) and on digital platforms from March 8th.

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