Runtime: 92 Mins
What To Expect: A fair drama for the most part, but a weak ending and intrusive comedy hurt it badly
Here is the second bear movie this year after Grizzly, another creature feature starring Thomas Jane and Billy Bob Thornton. Neither movie is particularly good, but the other one, Grizzly, is slightly better – mostly because of the bear/stunt work in that movie. This movie is kind of falsely advertised from what I remember of promotion. The trailer made it look like a couple were being stalked by both a murderous bear and a human weirdo. Neither is particularly true. Especially for the case of the bear. Even then despite being a fairly engaging movie, those aren’t the only problems. It’s seriously ‘aww what?’ anti-climatic.
Anyway a young couple, Jenn and Alex, played by Missy Peregrym and Jeff Roop, embark on a camping trip into the wilderness. After Alex shows less than manly skills at navigating the badass bush, things go wrong. Obviously. The drama and acting leading up to this aren’t bad but the problem is that at least 70 out of the 90-odd minute runtime is spent getting lost. The freak (Eric Balfour) isn’t really all that much of a threat or issue, not like the trailer might have suggested. And the bear does not show up until very late in the movie. Nor does the action featuring it impress like any of the ‘Bart’ lineage of trained bears. In fact, sometimes the old problem of unintentional humour shows up.
Take for instance when the bear first makes its presence known. I really couldn’t help but laugh. The noises that the beast was making, the heavy breathing and sniffing… comedic stuff. And that’s a problem you face when you attempt movies like this, animals are difficult things to film especially when you’re trying to scare people. I mean, there’s good acting in this movie. And the feeling on being ‘lost’ out there has full coverage. And the bear’s first kill has some nice practical effects, the body looks realistically mauled and the bear seems to find intestines particularly tasty. But the offence that drags this thing down to average at best is the problem of having no ending. ‘That’s it’? You’ll probably be asking that.
I was sure that the bear was going to be killed by a certain someone, it was so predictable I thought. But then, not only did that not happen, nothing did, and the bear is hardly in the movie at all. So so at best. At least Peregrym was easy on the eye.