Tahoe Joe 2

“Once More Into The Breach”

Tahoe Joe 2: The Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Conspiracy (2024) follows indie filmmakers Michael Rock and Dillon Brown of Horror Dadz Productions as they return to the wilderness surrounding Lake Tahoe in search of Becca (Becca Anne), a missing TikTok influencer. Their first found footage film Tahoe Joe (2022) inspired a viral trend in which young women parade into the wintery forest wearing fashionable clothing to take selfies while calling out for Joe. Unfortunately, they lingered a little too long, and Joe found them. 

The premise of this movie is solid, and with such a small budget the creators managed to tell a good story. The acting is not great, but that can be forgiven as this is supposed to be found footage, ie. non-actors. Much of the first act is spent talking about the hate mail and bad reviews Michael Rock received after Tahoe Joe 1 hit the big screen, which is actually quite funny. Rock and Brown know what they’re doing here: pulling us closer by quietly requesting support and sympathy for the shot-down filmmakers, while steering us back to Tubi to find the first chapter of this story. “We’re independent filmmakers, we have to make our money somehow”, right guys?


Tahoe Joe 2

By the time Rock and Brown get to the forest, we’ve seen enough footage to have pieced together a synopsis for Tahoe Joe 1, and are ready to join them on their search for Becca. Panoramic shots of the tree-filled mountainside add depth to the scenery, which would otherwise just be 2 men romping through the wintery forest. Things go sideways quickly when they find a headless corpse in the snow. There’s surprisingly little blood on the ground, but what’s more, mystifying is that after removing a wallet from the man’s back pocket to ID him, they steal his cash and casually drop the wallet on his back while laughing about the theft. They say real art evokes emotions in the viewer. If exasperation is an emotion, Tahoe Joe 2 is one of the most artistic films I’ve ever seen. I get that it’s probably supposed to be humour, but when Michael Rock goes around giggling while he’s killing people later in the film, I really have to question the choice to make his character seem like a psychopath. 

Aside from those moments of poor taste (IMO), the execution of the plot is…perplexing. Rock and Brown are surrounded by gun-toting men in ghillie suits after Rock shoots a member of their group, handcuffed, and marched to a cabin in the forest. They are forced to kneel in a corner while the rest of the group parties. Their leader John Grimm (John Potash) reveals that they are bear poachers who’ve run the Bigfoot conspiracy for 20 years to keep people away from their hunting grounds. The real Tahoe Joe shows up and mayhem ensues, with a lot of jittery footage from multiple cameras showing just enough of Joe to ensure we can separate him from the men in ghillie suits without giving away a full frontal reveal too soon. This is where Rock goes on his murderous rampage, trying to take out every poacher with a grin on his face. When Brown takes one out, Rock remarks “Owe you a Coke.” It’s disconcerting. And then FBI agents show up. In pleather.


Tahoe Joe 2

The film concludes with some after-credit scenes that hint at a third installation in the Tahoe Joe universe, which will thrill viewers wanting to know how Michael Rock managed to form a relationship with Joe before this journey. What Tahoe Joe 2: The Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Conspiracy lacks in cohesion and perhaps maturity, it more than makes up for with pure, unadulterated fun. Rock and Brown obviously have a blast making these films, and it comes through in their performances. The entire cast seems to be having fun, which speaks volumes for their directors (Rock and Brown). It may not be a fully polished stone and some of the content is questionable, but it really is a good story. I appreciated the addition of camera names in the bottom left corner to explain whose view we were watching, as this is something many other filmmakers have omitted, resulting in cinematic discord. Joe, himself is a fully practical body suit created by Immortal Masks and Dillon Brown. They created a well-styled take on the elusive Bigfoot, with fearsome teeth, dagger-sharp claws, and a hulking form.

Tahoe Joe 2: The Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Conspiracy is a fun watch for all lovers of cryptid lore, but for the love of all that is holy, please do not start a new TikTok trend involving ghillie suits on hunting grounds! 


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