Backcountry (2014)

6

Overall

6.0/10

Pros

  • There is a scene in this movie that is horrifying and magnificent. That alone is worth the price of admission.
  • Side-steps many of the predictable beats of a typical movie like this.
  • More substance than you might expect.

Cons

  • It’s low-budget and every so often it shows.
  • A bit uneven.
  • Not the most action-packed movie you’ll ever see.

Backcountry (2014) starring Jeff Roop, Missy Peregrym, and Nicholas Campbell. Directed by Adam MacDonald.

Sometimes you have to go off the beaten trail to find a good bear attack movie. Backcountry is worth seeking out.  

There are a ton of “animal attack” movies. Sharks, alligators, spiders, bees, dogs and so on. Each species is also is its own subcategory. JAWS, Deep Blue Sea and The Reef are all shark movies, even if they vary in style and quality. When it comes to bears, you’ve got films like Grizzly, The Edge, Prophecy and now Backcountry.

Here’s the gist of Backcountry. Jen (Missy Peregrym) and Alex (Jeff Roop) head off for a romantic weekend in the woods. After a series of questionable decisions they find themselves lost and inadvertently on the turf of a visious black bear. That’s all you really need to know.

Backcountry is a bit of a departure from most movies of this kind. It takes its time building tension and often subverts expectations, and that’s what makes it good. While the specter of the bear is always present, a lot of the uneasiness comes from the real-life horror of being lost in the woods and the fear, panic and resentment that starts to creep in. It’s kind of like Open Water meets The Blair Witch Project… with a bear.

The movie is centered around the relationship between Jen and Alex. She is a successful lawyer and let’s just say he’s a bit of an underachiever. To compensate, he tries to prove himself as an outdoorsman and let’s just say he underachieves at that too. But deep down he’s a good guy and they love each other. They do a great job portraying the strain on their relationship as the pressure mounts. Then things kick into high gear in the third act.

While nature, and another hiker (Eric Balfour), pose potential threat to the couple, there is in fact a bear in this movie and it’s pretty damn scary. They may go with a less-is-more approach, but you will not be disappointed. There is one scene in particular that might be one of the best ever filmed in this genre. Brutal and terrifying. You’ll know it when you see it.

Backcountry is a satisfying watch and refreshing take on the “animal attack” movie. Add it to your queue and the next time you are looking for something to watch, you’ll be in for a treat. A somber, gruesome treat.

 

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