Cinema Review: Into the Grizzly Maze | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, November 29th, 2020  

Into the Grizzly Maze

Studio: Vertical Entertainment
Directed by David Hackl

Jul 06, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Beckett and Rowan are estranged brothers whose paths cross again in their remote Alaskan hometown. Beckett is a sheriff’s deputy and part-time conservationist; Rowan is a ex-con looking to forget his past. When a rampaging grizzly bear begins terrorizing the nearby woods, the brothers must put their differences aside to hunt it down.

It’s difficult to call Into the Grizzly Maze a good film, despite the fact that it accomplishes its modest goals. A survivalist B-movie in the tradition of The Edge and The Grey, the film is a by-the-numbers action thriller with enough likable actors and competent action to ensure it some modest future success on late night cable. Director David Hackl, who cut his teeth as production designer on several films in the Saw series and as director of the fifth installment, keeps the action clear where he can–use of a live bear necessitates some dodgy green screen and awkward editing at points–and makes good use of the beautiful Canadian scenery that doubles for the Alaskan wilds.

What Hackl can’t save is the cliche-ridden script which forces the always game Thomas Jane and James Marsden to slog through numerous scenes of rote family drama and exposition before they can finally start fighting bears. Piper Perabo is also on hand as Jane’s deaf-mute wife, a potentially interesting choice that mostly exists to allow for not one, but two scenes in which her character moves slowly through the forest while the thousand-pound bear creeps up behind her. This is despite the fact that it also manages to ambush and devour several other characters who are clearly not deaf and are on the lookout for it. For those who may be curious, this mystery is never solved. Laughably out of place amid all this is Billy Bob Thornton as the Quint to Bart the Bear’s Jaws. As a bespectacled, Ahab-like bear hunter, Thorton mostly exists to be a jerk to the main characters and foreshadow his own not particularly surprising fate. While the final climax provides some modest thrills, the hour and change leading up to it is not worth the price of admission.

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Author rating: 3/10

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