Brothers played by James Marsden and Thomas Jane set out to capture a bear that has been driven mad by the cruelty of man. Jane’s wildlife photographer wife, Piper Perabo, is in danger as this misunderstood beast is tearing down anything with two legs. On the other side of the coin, bear hunter, Billy Bob Thornton is looking to put one right between its eyes.
I guess my first question would have to be, how did this fun but silly turd attract so many well-known flies? And Piper Perabo. Has the Sharknado craze created such a demand for creature/disaster features that the playing field is no longer just for 80s has-beens? And Brittany Murphy. I’m sorry, but didn’t anyone else wonder what the hell she was doing in Megafault (2009)?
When I read that David Hackl was in the director’s seat, an alarm bell in my brain screamed. …Or maybe that was just me. Before he stepped in, the SAW franchise was enjoying a comfortable consistency never before seen. No recasts. Storylines unravelled and came full circle, however implausibly. Things would continue as they always did. But Hackl’s mediocre SAW V (2008) dwarfed the chances of the superior SAW VI (2009) and then came The Final Chapter (2010). Needless to say, when faced with the prospect of watching Into The Grizzly Maze, I thought I had stepped into the blast zone of a real shit-bomb.
And then I remember that these bitches can actually act. On varying levels, perhaps, but, who on god’s green earth is ever going to win an Oscar making movies like these. A story that hooks you in is all well and good, but actors that can’t deliver their lines for shit is just unbearable. No pun intended.
That said, Billy Bob feels subdued and underused in this one somehow, but still manages to draw the laughs. Piper Perabo just hides and looks pretty while doing it. Her character’s deafness is never used to its full potential. Having no hearing in such a life and death situation is an excellent source of tension that Hackl wastes. Whether they are mad at each other or not, I never quite felt the brotherly connection between Jane and Marsden. Even when they took turns being gored by the killer bear. A killer who, when the cameras aren’t rolling, goes by the name of Bart the Bear 2. I guess Bart the Bear, the original, wasn’t available.
I don’t know what the point of this movie’s existence is, or how they managed to land all these players. But at least they seemed to know what they were doing, and did it to a level of okay-ish competency. Hopefully the future of onslaught of gag-worthy Asylum creature features will follow suit the next time they put out a casting call: Can’t act? Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, motherf****r!
Dir: David Hackl
Scr: Guy Moshe, J.R. Reher
Starring: James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Billy Bob Thornton, Piper Perabo, Scott Glen
Prd: Tai Duncan, Hadeel Reda, Paul Schiff
DOP: James Liston
Music: Marcus Trumpp
Run time: 94 mins
Into the Grizzly Maze is available on Digital now and DVD from 17 August 2015 via Signature Entertainment.