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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

Grizzly Rage (2007)

"Ripped apart at the screams!"


A group of teenager friends are out celebrating their graduation with a car trip through the woods. But they break into a restricted area and accidentally run down a young bear cub. Soon the friends find themselves running for their lives from the gigantic mother grizzly who comes looking for her cub.


Let's forget the notion that animals take revenge on humans when one of their offspring or family is killed. We've seen it before in many films (Roy Scheider even asks a scientist that question in Jaws 2 where he's rebutted pretty quickly - just don't mention Jaws: The Revenge to her) and it's purely a plot device. So just go with the flow. I'm not a huge fan of killer bears. To me, they don't have the same menace as a shark or tiger. Don't get me wrong, they're just as deadly and I wouldn't want to face one in the woods somewhere. But they've always been portrayed in a more positive light in the media. When someone says bear, I think of a teddy bear, a Care Bear or even Gentle Ben - not a huge killer grizzly. Grizzly Rage does little to change my opinion.

With only a handful of characters, a handful of outdoor locations and only so many things that can happen between four teenagers, a car, the woods and a killer bear, Grizzly Rage is slow going which is ironic since the film gets going quickly. The bear cub is run over early on, the mother bear swears her oath of revenge and the situation goes pear-shaped for the teenagers. Maybe it was done too soon because the characters have little chance to develop and the rest of the film involves the same few characters trying to escape from the bear. The script is worthless. Characters survive all sorts of mishaps including getting their car flipped over by the grizzly and getting caught in bear traps. They obviously come out of the situations in the greatest of health, with perfect smiles, perfect hair, etc. You never truly get a sense that anything else can harm them except for the bear and this renders a lot of their situations obsolete.

Not only are they super human and near invincible, they're also super daft. These characters are just mindless idiots without a shred of common sense or a brain between them. They make some ridiculous decisions - in order to get help, one character sets off on a long walk through the woods wearing only flip-flops and in the knowledge that a giant bear wants to kill him. Catching salmon in a river was never as easy a meal for the bear than this dumb teenager. These dumb decisions mean that you end up rooting for the bear to kill them all. After all, she does have a valid excuse for wanting them all dead - they killed her cub. To be fair, I was rooting for the bear from the beginning but seeing these jackasses mow down that cute little cub just made me more bloodthirsty. The small cast also means that the body count is low and we're going to be stuck with some of these annoying characters for a long time simply because there's no one else to kill off.

The bear is the best actor in Grizzly Rage. It's varying talents range from frenzied rage to sombre sadness. Maybe it's because it was acting in an entirely different film or documentary and the makers of this one just culled some stock footage. A stage hand wearing a pair of ridiculous over-sized fake bear hands is ready for the close-ups during attack scenes. The editing between shots of the actual bear and shot of the fake prop head is pretty bad and it happens way too often, drawing unnecessary attention to itself and the fact it looks rubbish. I guess its common sense not to actually film a real bear interacting with the cast, no matter how tame or trained the bear may be. So the director does as good a job as possible in trying to make it realistic.

But this is David DeCoteau we're talking about, a man who has made such awesome films as Final Scream, Legend of the Mummy and Retro Puppet Master. So you know there's going to be some weird slant to the whole thing and low and behold it does. What was a reasonably realistic story about a killer bear wanting revenge for her cub's death is suddenly turned on its head when we are told that there is a toxic dump nearby and the bear must have been mutated. Woah! Not just a gigantic killer grizzly bear but one that has been feeding off toxic waste for years. No wonder it can send people soaring through the air with one swipe of its paws. The film also lacks decent blood effects. Bear attacks are accompanied by CGI blood splatters on the screen as opposed to more traditional make-up effects. It's almost as if the effects were made for an entirely different film but they just nabbed them for this because they thought it looked cool.


Final Verdict

I'd rather watch The Care Bears Movie than have to sit through Grizzly Rage again. In a very limited sub-genre, it's definitely the worst killer bear movie ever made. So if you need your fix of killer teddies, head back to the 70s for Grizzly or Prophecy. At least they knew how to make them exciting back then.


Grizzly Rage

Director(s): David DeCoteau

Writer(s): Arne Olsen

Actor(s): Tyler Hoechlin, Kate Todd, Graham Kosakoski, Brody Harms

Duration: 86 mins

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