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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Bear > Into The Grizzly Maze (2015/Sony DVD)

Into The Grizzly Maze (2015/Sony DVD)

Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: D Film: C

Into The Grizzly Maze is a cat and mouse thriller from Director David Hackl, who was the director of Saw V, but we won't hold that against him. The Alaskan-set film sports an impressive cast with James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Piper Perabo, Scott Glenn, and Billy Bob Thorton that all come together pretty well here. The bear itself is like Jaws on land as it relentlessly stalks its prey and proves to be a force to be reckoned with. This is not the film Bear from our childhood, this is like 'Bear-Jaws'.

After a relentless grizzly starts to wreak havoc on a small town, the sheriff (played by Jane) heads into the forest to find his ecologist deaf wife (Perabo) but instead crosses paths with his estranged, ex-con brother (Marsden). They soon find themselves on the run from the massive killer bear with the aide of an experienced Hunter played by Thornton.

Problems in the script lie within a motivation for this killer bear. He kills without remorse and no back story. Not once do they ever try to distract the bear with honey or animal meat, they simply hide and run in terror from this unstoppable force, which is a little far-fetched. Maybe if poachers killed the Bear's cub early on or damaged his property he would have had more motivation? The bear also is un-affected by gunshot wounds. Several times in the film he is shot and just keeps on going. Maybe he took some lessons from Michael Myers? Played by famed bear actor, Bart, who has been featured in several other films such as the extraordinary Robert Redford film An Unfinished Life, plus We Bought a Zoo, Dr. Doolittle 2, and Into the Wild, the bear at times outshines his co-stars in the film.

Another issue in the film is the cinematography and bad effects in places. The film seems like it should have been shot with wider lenses and more style. Many of the shots are flat throughout or tight when they should be wider. The sequences involving the bear attacking are obvious in that which shots are a digital bear and which shots are Bart. Some crane shots of the woods are also noticeably digital... which makes you wonder why they invested the money into digital woods shots and not just a crane rental?

The acting throughout isn't terrible, with all of these actors industry favorites and able to hold their own. Billy Bob basically plays Quint from Jaws in the guise of the hunter who knows all and (spoiler) ultimately gets hounded in a fierce attack. Marsden, though it's hard for me to not typecast him as Cyclops from Bryan Singer's X-Men films, is decent as a grizzled ex-con who just wants to be left alone but has no problem beating a guy senseless outside a bar for domestic abuse. A con with a heart of gold.

Presented in standard definition with an anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (shot with an Arri Alexa) and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the film looks fine on DVD but could benefit from a Blu-ray upgrade and surprisingly, there isn't a Blu-ray released yet for this film, which I thought was odd for today's home video market. Sadly, no extras on this release either.

Perhaps with a more visionary director, this film could have been a little better than it turned out but by no means is a complete waste either.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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