INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE (2015)
Directed by David Hackl
On DVD now
INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE is an action thriller about a rogue grizzly bear who becomes the predator in a place where his kind are hunted for fun and for trophies. As we witness the bear tear a man apart, it’s hard to feel sorry for the despicable humans as we cheer on nature fighting back against its oppressors. However, it seems that this bear has a taste for his own species too and he quickly becomes a creature that must be stopped, not just to save lives of the humans but those of other grizzly bears too.
James Marsden stars as estranged brother Rowan who accidentally reconnects with his brother Beckett (Thomas Jane). The two clearly have issues that they’re unable to talk about with Beckett unable to forgive his brother for his crimes. Piper Perabo plays deaf conservationist Michelle who’s changed Beckett’s approach to wildlife as once he too was once a hunter like his brother but now serves to protect the bears rather than kill them. Michaela McManus stars as medically trained Kaley who works with the Sheriff’s department and used to go out with Rowan before he left town. She’s happy to see him back but she has a lot of questions that Rowan’s not quite prepared to answer. The four of them must set apart their differences and hold back their questions when they become the prey of the clever killer grizzly hot on their trail. After seeing what this bear can do to a human body, even shrewd professional hunter Douglass (a fantastic Billy Bob Thornton) will be up for a challenge.
The real star of the show here, despite the already awesome cast mentioned above, is Bart the Bear (II). Forget your CGI (well, for the most part), as we have a bonafide real bear as the villain of the piece in INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE. He chases, he roars, he stands on his rear legs, he stalks and he paws and boy does he look beautiful, if a little terrifying, whilst doing it. His mammoth size is intimidating and you genuinely fear for the characters when this grizzly bear is on the loose. In scenes where the bear is attacking a human, a mixture of real footage and CGI is used and whilst it is noticeable, it doesn’t ruin the effect nor impact of the movie as the practical effects team help create some gnarly wounds and facial disfigurations from the attacks. Billy Bob Thornton’s is quite a disturbing sight! Slick editing combined with these incredible bear shots really create a fear-induced adrenaline rush.
INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE is a wildly entertaining movie with a story you can really get involved in. It’s tense, exciting and quite frightening at times and will surely make you glad to be sat watching the action unfold on-screen than be stuck in the woods with this beastie!