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03 Apr 2015

Home Video Review: 'Backcountry' Will Make You Think Twice About Going Camping

Written by 
Missy Peregrym in Backcountry. Missy Peregrym in Backcountry.

Of all animal-attack movies—films in which sharks, birds, insects, Mickey Rourke and tigers attack and eat people—bear-attack movies freak me out the most. Granted, Jaws is still the granddaddy of all animal-attack films, but there’s just something so freaky and depressing about bears mauling humans in movies.

Well, Backcountry goes into the Bear Attack Hall of Fame with Grizzly (1976), The Edge and the documentary Grizzly Man.

Missy Peregrym and Jeff Roop play Jenn and Alex, a troubled couple looking to have a good time while and canoeing lakes. Things take a minorly bad turn when a mysterious stranger (Eric Balfour) has a fairly intimidating fish dinner with them by a campfire. Things take a majorly bad turn when Alex loses his way and gets the couple lost.

Things then become absolutely catastrophic when a black bear smells Alex’s bloody socks, finds their tent and decides to have itself some hikers for dinner.

There’s a bear attack in this film that will bring tears to your eyes. A character goes out in the most horrid and gory of ways, screaming and fighting the entire time. Then we are treated to the sight of the dead victim being feasted upon by the bear, while a significant other is forced to flee and battle the elements. As bear attacks go, this one isn’t quite as bad as Harold Perrineau getting eaten while Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins watch in The Edge, but it’s pretty damn brutal. Much credit goes to the performers and makeup artists, who do a great job of making viewers feel like somebody is really dying via bear onscreen.

All in all, writer-director Adam MacDonald’s film is a good watch thanks to the actors—and some fine bear casting.

The story, which MacDonald describes as Open Water with a bear, is supposedly based on a real-life event in which two campers were attacked in northern Ontario. Knowing that MacDonald based his carnage on something that really happened makes Backcountry all the more scary.

Backcountry is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

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