Grizzly aka Red Machine aka Into the Grizzly Maze 2014
“Two estranged brothers reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild. They set out on a two-day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.” – Wikipedia
There is a crapload of star power in this movie and yet it fails on so many levels. Here’s a few that stand out to me.
First off, it’s rated PG-13. This says to me that the plan is to have a “Monster” type movie that a younger audience can go see. Here’s there problem with this theory. The cast is made up mostly well known actors in their 30’s or older. Younger audiences aren’t going to really know or care about the casting so they should have gone for an R rating and added some real gore and suspense to the film.
Second on the fail list. No real gore. Most of the bear attacks happen off camera. So most what little gore we do get to see is after the attack and there’s no excitement to it. When you have a movie that is about a bear attacking and you almost never see it actually attack anyone the movie has failed. It’s a lot like Japanese porn. Just when it starts to get good they blur everything out. What’s that all about?!
Third thing making this a bad horror movie is that the lack of suspense is frustratingly apparent. It’s almost non-existent. I think it goes back to the PG-13 thing. It’s like they didn’t want it to be too intense for younger viewers. So, all the people that really want to see it, the fans of the great actors in the movie, have nothing to enjoy about the film.
Fourth thing. Characters doing stupid things. You have hunters with rifles that can’t shoot a bear running, even with multiple shots. I mean these guys are using rifles. Rifles are terribly accurate weapons. Everybody misses when shooting at the bear. Then there’s that time when they decide not to stay in the abandoned cabin over night with the bear stalking them. They think it’s a much better idea to stay out in the open and fucking talk a lot.
To sum it all up, this movie is about a huge Grizzly that is killing people out of rage for the way it’s kind has been wronged. But, we rarely see the bear actually kill anyone. We never really get to see any gore and there’s almost no suspense at all. As an “Animal Attacks” movie it couldn’t have failed more. Seriously, most of the “bear attacks” are completely circumstantial. If this movie was a court room drama, the bear would totally be acquitted.
Now, there are some good things that sadly don’t really help the movie any but here they are. The acting of course is pretty decent. Though it seems like the actors at times give off a “WTF am doing in this movie” vibe. There is some emotional depth to the characters and storylines. But, they play out more like a movie of the week instead. It would have totally worked had the filmmakers thrown in some actual bear attack scenes and suspense for grown ups and forgot about the PG-13 rating.
Forgive me but I have to rant about this PG-13 vs R rating thing for a moment. I don’t have a problem with films of any rating. What I do have problems with is when filmmakers try to make something fit into a format it shouldn’t. This movie is sold as a bear attack film first. So much so, it’s titled “Grizzly”. Had it been titled, “The Bear That Cared Too Much” I would expect a PG-13 rating or less. But, that isn’t the case. This is a movie about a bear attacking and killing people. Had the filmmakers not sugar coated the violence but instead went with it. This film could have been really good and much more exciting.
I guess an easier way to explain what I mean is by bringing up John Ashcroft, the former U.S. Attorney General under President George Bush Jr. He had issues with nudity. For him nudity wasn’t even acceptable in art form. He was constantly being photographed and filmed in front of statues that showed male and female nudie bits. He didn’t like that. So he famously or more to the point idiotically covered the “Spirit of Justice statues”. This is kinda like what this movie did. Instead of following the natural direction the film should take it compromised the films integrity so that it would fit into particular MPAA rating. At least that’s my theory. I could be wrong. It could be that the film is really just that bad and there is no excuse.
Cast of Characters:
James Marsden as Rowan
Thomas Jane as Beckett
Billy Bob Thornton as Douglas
Piper Perabo as Michelle
Scott Glenn as Sully
Adam Beach as Johnny Cadillac
Michaela McManus as Kaley
Kelly Curran as Amber
Bart the Bear as Red Machine
Luisa D’Oliveira as Zoe Langford
Carson Reaume as young Rowan
Seth Isaac Johnson as Young Beckett
Patrick Sabongui as Marcus
Sarah Desjardins as Sydnee
Sean O. Roberts as Franco
Reese Alexander as Gerry Smith