Into the Grizzly Maze

Hunt or be hunted.

Action Horror Thriller
94 min     5.3     2015     Canada


Two estranged brothers reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild. They set out on a two-day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.


Wuchak wrote:
***Pretty good bear attack flick with James Marsden, Thomas Jane and Piper Perabo*** Several people coalesce in a region of Alaska called the Grizzly Maze where a rogue bear is on the loose: A local man recently released from prison (James Marsden), his ex-girlfriend (Michaela McManus), his estranged deputy brother (Thomas Jane), the deputy’s photographer wife (Piper Perabo), a half-crazy hunter (Billy Bob Thornton), a compromised sheriff (Scott Glenn) and an AmerIndian poacher (Adam Beach). “Into the Grizzly Maze” (2015) is a bear attack movie and, more generally, a wilderness adventure/thriller. When it comes to these types of films “The Edge” (1997) reigns supreme, as does the brooding “Hold the Dark” (2018), although the latter has no bear (actually “The Edge” is only partially a bear attack movie, as it goes much deeper than that, like “Hold the Dark”). While nowhere near as effective as “The Edge” and “Hold the Dark,” “Into the Grizzly Maze” is about on par with the Indie "Backcountry" (2014) in all-around entertainment; and it’s superior to the prosaic “Grizzly” (1976). Where “Into the Grizzly Maze” excels is the locations and awesome cinematography. This might be the best-looking forest flick ever made. The cast is exceptional too. In these areas it’s superior to all the above movies with the possible exception of “The Edge” where it’s at least on par. The conflict-habituated relationship of the brothers (Marsden and Jane) is amusing and it’s nice to see Piper Perabo again, who was about 38 during shooting and looking better than ever, top to bottom. Meanwhile McManus has a stunning face and mesmerizing eyes. The film runs 1 hour, 34 minutes, and was shot in the Vancouver area, British Columbia, and Big Bear, California (the bar scene). GRADE: B/B-
John Chard wrote:
Bare or Bear Puzzle? Into the Grizzly Maze is directed by David Hackl and written by Guy Moshe and J.R. Reher. It stars James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Piper Perabo, Scott Glenn, Michaela McManus and Billy Bob Thornton. Music is by Marcus Trumpp and cinematography by James Liston. Estranged brothers Rowan (Marsden) and Beckett (Jane) reunite out in the Alaskan wild. They set out into the wilderness to see if they can humanely trap the ferocious grizzly bear that has been savaging the locals. Unfortunately in the pantheon of movies featuring Mother Nature's angry beasts stalking humans, this one is very average. Which considering the cast list is not only something of a shame, it's also surprising. The stock roll call of characters with various hang-ups, disabilities or troubled back stories, stumble through the wilderness being menaced by the awesome Red Machine (Bart the Bear the best thing in the pic). Sadly director Hackl doesn't have an eye or ear for a good fright, while his blood letting exercises quickly wear thin come the later stages of the piece. Things aren't helped by the flatness of the digital shooting, which only emphasises the poor CGI segments. On the plus side the enviromental messages hold tight, even if the family traumas threaten to avert the points. The location photography - with Vancouver standing in for Alaska - is pleasing in making the scenery a prominent feature, while the finale is good on action entertainment terms, even if the resolution is a touch hokey. Ultimately this just isn't suspenseful or riveting on either the "when animals attack" basis or the fractured character dynamics. 5/10