Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Kate Todd, Tyler Hoechlin, Graham Kosakoski, Brody Harms
Directed by David DeCoteau
Distributed by Genius Products, LLC.
If there’s been a more boring Sci-Fi Channel original movie I cannot currently recall what it was.
I’ll even go so far as to say Grizzly Rage is probably the lamest film David DeCoteau has ever made and this is the same guy responsible for The Killer Eye. If you’re familiar with the works of David DeCoteau then you know that he’s spent recent years primarily making horror movies with homoerotic overtones. Grizzly Rage is one of the first he’s done in quite awhile that has none of that and, frankly, I kind of wish it had because then at least there would have been something, anything, going on in this film that would standout. I can’t fully fault DeCoteau for this one’s failure since he clearly had next to nothing to work with.
The only characters in the entire movie are a quartet of teens who’ve just graduated: a cute blonde girl and three fratboy types that struck me as the kind more likely to put some roofies in her drink and then take turns. They’re looking to have some fun and are on a road trip, but they’ve deviated from the road map – always a bad idea. Someone never taught them that when you’re in the middle of nowhere you shouldn’t do something stupid such as driving like a maniac and wrecking your vehicle. Also, best to try not running down a bear cub because there might be a very angry mamma bear nearby.
Now if you’re thinking a variation on I Know What You Did Last Summer done in the vein of Stephen Colbert’s worst nightmare sounds like it could be a lot of fun then you’d be right. But “sounds like it could be” and actually being a lot of fun are two entirely different things. Carnage is non-existent, consisting primarily of a few painted blood splatters that splash across the screen, and instead of an over-the-top gory killer bear flick like William Girdler’s cult classic Grizzly, the intention seems to have been to produce a more character driven, and dare I say, thoughtful nature gone amok movie. That’s a noble endeavor if you succeed but if not then you’ve doomed your film to boredom.
Doomed indeed; I cannot think of another Sci-Fi Channel original movie I’ve ever seen where less happened than this film. Dull characters, little action, hardly any carnage, non-existent suspense, a ton of filler … even the bear is boring. The bulk of the bear action doesn’t even occur until the last 20-minutes and I have a hard time imagining most people won’t have long since turned off the movie before then.
And one of these days the makers of B-movies such as this are going to finally come to the realization that audiences don’t really want to watch actors repeatedly wandering about the woods for minutes at a time. It’s not even just people walking around not doing anything, either. Did you enjoy watching that guy climb that rock face for the last two minutes? If so, you’ll love watching him scale back down it.
It’s also hard to care about characters when they’re stupid as well as uninteresting. “Why is this happening to us?” asks one of them as if their predicament wasn’t of their own doing. Two of them will sit around in their broken down jeep to engage in an existential conversation about modern day existence and whether or not they’re being punished by a higher power. That scene actually succeeded in making me wish for more footage of guys hiking through the woods.
Until the finale there’s no sense that the grizzly is actually stalking them or somehow considers this personal. It just shows up at random to snort, growl, and roar. They used a real live bear and I dare say they might have been better off with CGI since it just wasn’t scary. There’s a scene where the bear is supposed to be attacking their jeep and it actually looked kind of playfully cute doing so.
About a year ago the Sci-Fi Channel premiered another killer bear movie entitled Savage Planet that was itself pretty terrible but at least had some camp value to it considering it was about, as I repeatedly described it in my review, Bears in Space. Having cosmic explorers Stargate over to an alien world on the other side of the universe only to find themselves being hunted down and killed by stock footage of very earthly grizzly bears (and the occasional puppet bear claw) has a schlock value that just watching a bunch of typical for this genre teens stuck in the woods being stalked and killed in roughly the same manner does not, especially when the movie is trying way to hard to be a more realistic thriller.
About the nicest thing I can say about this one is that DeCoteau has succeeded in making it a very professional looking film that visually looks more cinematic than most other Sci-Fi Channel originals. I’ll also say that it does have a somewhat surprising ending.
Characters you don’t give a damn about, a rampaging bear that’s never menacing, and a whole lot of nothing happening: the only thing Grizzly Rage succeeded in doing was damn near causing me to enter into a state of hibernation.
1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5
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