Tyler Hoechlin - Wes
Kate Todd - Lauren
Brody Harris - Ritch
Graham Kosakoski - Sean
Genre - Horror/Slasher/B-Movie/Killer Animals
Running Time - 85 Minutes
I don't know why I keep giving David DeCoteau a chance to impress me. The last couple of reviews I've done for his films, they've ended up right in the WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza. BROTHERHOOD V: THE ALUMNI? Ugh. RING OF DARKNESS? Snore. Where's the dude that directed the B-movie classic, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA? That was a pretty sweet flick! DeCoteau needs to make more films like that!
Unfortunately, GRIZZLY RAGE [DeCoteau's 2007 Nature-Run-Amok flick] isn't that film. What should have been a silly B-movie about a Mama Grizzly Bear killing stupid "teenagers who happen to be in their twenties" in really gruesome ways ends up being a chore to sit through. When you've seen better violence on reality television and crazier animal attacks on the Animal Planet, you have a problem. The only rage that's associated with this movie is the rage I'm having by wasting my time reviewing a film that had no right passing through the pre-production stage and boring me for 85 minutes.
Four High School friends [who look like they've been left back a few years] get into their SUV and travel to the woods for some graduation celebration. Yes, trespassing through a closed area in the forest, ready to drink, smoke, and probably have sex [even though there's only one girl for three guys...hmmm] sounds like a ton of fun. Unfortunately, the group speeds so fast that they hit and run over a cute grizzly bear cub.
Before they can react to what they've done, the mother of this cub decides she wants revenge. The graduates get the hell out of there, but come across car trouble and no cell phone reception that stops them all in their tracks in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, the bear smells this bullshit from a mile away, mauling them one by one until the two best looking cast members (Tyler Hoechlin and Kate Todd) are left to show some skin and fight for survival. Or whatever.
I have three words for GRIZZLY RAGE:
WHAT THE FUCK!?
Where do I begin with this piece of shit movie? Do I talk about the terrible screenplay? The generic direction? What about the bland acting? Or those not-so-cool bear paws some dude is waving around at these characters from behind the camera? Maybe I should talk about the fact that I was bored out of my mind, when this type of premise should have been cheesy and silly enough to be so bad that it's entertaining? Hell, I can even talk about the headache, heartburn, ulcer, and constant diarrhea I suffered just by subjecting myself to watching this "fine" movie. This movie is such a failure on every filmmaking level, it boggles my mind!
Let's get the story portion out of the way. What you read there for the plot is pretty much it. Nothing more, nothing less. It's pretty sad too because either good or bad, I usually have a lot to say about someone's screenplay and the narrative presented to the viewer. But this script is so straight forward and shallow as a puddle of urine that I honestly don't have much to say about it. The story plays out exactly as you would expect it to. No twists and turns. No real drama between characters. No explanation as to how this bear manages to find these teens at every turn they make and manages to hide herself long enough to ambush them. There's nothing here. Nothing at all.
There are some attempts, I guess, to explain why this bear is such a threat. Supposedly there's a tiny, brief moment where the story mentions a toxic waste dump near the woods. I guess we're supposed to figure out that it's possible that this bear is mutated with some sort of superpower or something. But the bear looks normal and doesn't have much power other than super-strength. Then again, bears are really strong to begin with, so who knows? But like I said, it's briefly mentioned and completely forgotten about for the rest of the film. So what's the point of bringing up in the first place? I could have just believed that this bear was smart and hated these characters as much as I hated them. It was an unnecessary plot device.
There are also moments in the film that just baffled me. For example, the SUV that these characters drove was probably the safest, most efficient vehicle ever created in the history of motor vehicles. It drove off a cliff, yet was still able to run. Add flat tires to the scenario, which would hinder any vehicle, but not this one. And the car is easy to push just in case you run out of gas too! It just keeps going and going. KITT, the General Lee, and Herbie the Love Bug have nothing on this automobile. I wonder if Geico, Allstate, or Progressive insures this car.
Also, the characters are so beyond stupid and annoying that I'm surprised they even graduated kindergarten, let alone High School. They all call each other "Bro", even Lauren, so much that in this film that you could make a drinking game out of it. But then again, you'll end up drinking anyway to pass the time watching this shit. They decide to trespass a gated area since they're geniuses. After running down the bear cub, Lauren wonders why a bear would be in the woods.
WHY ELSE WOULD IT BE THERE, YOU STUPID BITCH?? IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S A BEAR'S NATURAL HABITAT!!
Instead of leaving the area from where they entered to escape the bear, they decide to drive DEEPER into the woods, causing them to crash their car into a tree. Realizing the bear is hunting them, they decide the best hiding spot is behind a tree. Yeah, because bears don't have keen senses of smell for hunting. They eventually start blaming themselves for what's happening. Well no shit, since you FUCKIN' RAN DOWN THE BEAR'S CUB! Hell, Lauren believes that her hit-and-run of a parked car a while back is the reason why karma is having the bear attack her and her friends.
I really want to make a blonde joke, but I won't out of respect of my blonde-haired readers out there.
Thanks to screenwriter Arne Olsen [who also wrote COP AND A HALF...ugh], the dialogue is terrible [never heard this much poser dialogue since MALIBU'S MOST WANTED] and there's no character development at all. All these characters do are yell, call each other "Bro", stand around their car hoping it'll keep running, and get thrown around by this bear. There's no depth to them at all. Usually, characters have a stereotype. But fuckin' stupid would apply to each and every one of these idiots. If they didn't have names, I would have had trouble telling them apart personality-wise.
Speaking of the bear, I would have loved her to murder these characters an hour faster than she actually did. The fact that she didn't pissed me off quite a bit. But she was still my favorite character since she hated these assholes as much as I did. As for the bear itself [which was actually on the set, rather than stock footage], it was probably the least vicious bear I've seen on film in quite a while. From what I read, it was fairly tame and all the growling sounds had to be edited in post-production. Too bad the bear was hardly ever in the same scene as the actors. Instead of seeing the actual bear maul them, we got some dude wearing bear paws claw at them. It's more sad than funny, but it is what it is. I think the screenplay should have had more bear action. After all, the film is called GRIZZLY RAGE!
Speaking of the "special effects", since the bear wasn't doing any damage for much of the film and a man had to put on bear paws, there's no big amount of gore or blood in the film. Hell, the one who suffered the most violence was the damn SUV! So to compensate for this, it was someone's bright idea to use CGI blood to splatter any time someone got clawed. In fact, the blood would splatter so much that it would actually stick to the camera lens for "added" effect. Instead, it just made the film more cheap and silly in the process. I did laugh when this happened, so I'll give the film that. My favorite effect, though, was probably a tank top getting clawed in one shot, but totally put together for the rest of the film. Not only was this car invincible, but so was the clothing. Amazing.
David DeCoteau could have used some visual flair to at least raise the entertainment value of GRIZZLY RAGE. But instead, he just goes through the motions and films this flick as if he doesn't really give a damn. Instead of giving the viewer tension, suspense, or even camp, we get long ass scenes of characters driving on the road, pushing their car up a cliff, running through the woods, and so on. We also never see the bear cub get hit - instead just seeing the aftermath and even that isn't bloody or anything. There's no nudity. There's no violence. The editing is crap. The visual style is dull. DeCoteau gives no energy to a movie that desperately needed some. I miss the old David DeCoteau who actually gave a shit about his movies. He just took this one for a simple paycheck. I hope it was really big.
The acting is a non-factor. All of them are bland and don't really stand out at all. Kate Todd is pretty hot, but that's basically it. And Tyler Hoechlin did better work in ROAD TO PERDITION and would later do better stuff on MTV's Teen Wolf. He's probably the best actor by default, but he doesn't save the film. Of course, we get to see him only in his underwear during the final act. This wouldn't be a DeCoteau film without some sort of male skin, now would it?
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE DUMPING HONEY ALL OVER THESE STUPID CHARACTERS
- Wes wrote a speech that he had no idea what it meant. Looks like we have the future President of the United States. After all, intelligence was never part of the job description.
- The boys wanted to take a shortcut against Lauren's wishes. If only that was an option for me while watching this piece of shit.
- Don't play hide-and-seek with a bear. She hates any game where she's required to count. Unless it involves salmon.
- The surviving characters spent minutes of wasted film time to pull their car up a rocky hill. If I were running up that hill, I'd make a deal with God to have them all dead in a car explosion because this bear is taking too damn long killing them!!
- The bear pushed Lauren back first into a bear trap. The safe word was "honey", sweetheart.
THE FINAL HOWL
Do I really need to write here that GRIZZLY RAGE blows? There's no redeeming value here at all. We got a bare bones screenplay. We got boring direction. We have terrible special effects. And the acting is boring. Just don't bother with this movie. I'm sorry I had to even subject you all into reading this review. Let's just send GRIZZLY RAGE into the WTF? Vault where it can shit in the woods. 1976's GRIZZLY is still enough for your killer bear needs. Let's leave it at that.