The horror genre has developed multiple sub-genres over the years in our ever-desperate drive for fresh nightmares. One of these sub-genres was the killer animal trope, which itself was then overtaken by the shark movie sub-sub-genre, as evidenced by “films” like the Sharknado series, the Mega Shark vs. series, and the upcoming Shark Exorcist. Even the movies that aren’t about sharks might as well be, E.G. Mega Piranha, etc. SyFy still churns out the giant spider movie or the occasional mutant crocodile but I doubt we will see another Them! or Night of the Lepus any time soon. You can decide for yourself if that’s a good or bad thing. But why watch a shark horror when you have things like killer spiders and snakes and— shrews? Really? Not one, but two horror movies about shrews. Huh. I have a feeling this column is going to get weird. So, um, awkward segue into today’s movie Grizzly Rage. A low, low budget movie about what happens when idiots go into the woods. Which is why I never go into the woods. Grizzly Rage is part of the Maneater film line. Cheap, made for TV movies that you might say are meant to be mindless fun, but you would be disappointed. Mindless yes, but no fun here. At least not in the one’s I’ve seen. Grizzly Rage tells the story of four high school graduates that go off into the wilderness to—um. I don’t really know. I think they forgot to write that part of the script. We see them load a couple bags into their jeep, but no mention of camping or going off for a weekend of revelry. I would commend the movie for not playing to lazy stereotypes except I really think they forgot about it. Even Wikipedia doesn’t have a good plot explanation. And really with a plot this thin I would think they would want more plot filler, not less. The characters themselves are so bland, so dull that I pined for the horror stereotypes. The girl stands out because she’s a girl, and also because she personifies alien syntax. She sounds normal when replying to someone but all her other lines sound like placeholders that they forgot to fill with actual dialogue. The three guys are interchangeable and generally indistinguishable, which is why one gets killed off early. It’s also why they invent reasons to separate from each other. So we have four slices of white bread going off for unconceived reasons to Saranoc Grotto, a place that doesn’t seem to actually exist so far as I can tell, but Googling did bring up a lot of Satanism-related pages. And Saranoc Grotto must be such a happening place to go, seeing how they had to break a chain barrier and then break another chain on a gate to get there. And that is thematically important. The barriers and warning signs fill the creepy old man/harbinger trope. Good to see some horror staples carried over. The plot is simplistic and could have made for an atmospheric isolation thriller, if it had better—everything. Yeah, everything in this is kinda lacking except for the bear which I will get into shortly. Plot time. While driving like maniacs our “heroes” run over a bear cub, and then conveniently crash into a tree, because applying the brakes wasn’t an option I suppose. And of course their cellphones don’t work, and naturally they didn’t tell anyone about their change in plans to come to Saranoc Grotto. It’s all very contrived. To be fair, this is where the character Wes really stands out. Of all the idiots he’s the one that recognizes and tries to warn them of the danger. In case you didn’t know, bears are super protective of their cubs. And truth be told, wild bears don’t need an excuse to eat you anyway. And that’s out plot. It’s a revenge story with a bear. Or the bear went to a witch and summoned Pumpkinhead Bear for revenge, which would explain some things, and would make an interesting movie, to say the least. The crash broke the radiator, though, so they need to get more water. Now there’s a reason I bring this up. And that reason is– The nearby lake has been flavored with toxic waste. And as we know from the Toxic Avenger, chemical wastes give you superpowers. So now this is a movie about a chemical super bear seeking revenge against those damned humans. And now we see where Three-Finger gets his baby food from. And speaking of Three-Finger, at one point Wes finds a creepy murder shed, complete with jars of blood. It’s very out of place. Almost like a set from a different movie, which would not surprise me. And speaking of out of place, the songs that randomly start playing add nothing to the mood. Not only do they jar the tone, they take away from what could be quiet moments to build character and let the dread of the situation sink in. The settings are nice, with desolate landscapes really making you feel hopeless about the situation, and that really should have been played up more for effect. The cinematography is all over the map, at times being great, and other times just ehh. Like how the scenes with the bear were clearly filmed at different times then the rest of the movie. Probably all shot in a day. And snarky comments aside, the bear (named Koda) plays his parts well. What parts he gets, which isn’t nearly enough of the movie if they were going for schlock and horror. The kills are just boring. The bear arrives, a guy in a bear suit swings at the character, and CG blood hits the screen. That’s what breaks the movie most for me. It’s not from the POV of the bear, it’s not found footage, and it was never 3D. So having the fakest looking blood ever hit the screen just shatters any illusion the filmmakers were attempting to create. There’s a little more to the movie, but this is essentially it. Who dies and in what order amounts to nothing since there’s no connection to any of these characters, but the resolution was surprisingly satisfying. To sum up this movie, Darwin Awards were not given, they were earned. See larger image Grizzly Rage: Maneater Series Grizzly Rage is the sixth title in the “Maneater Series” and unveils the biggest beast of them all. When four high school buddies take a road trip to celebrate their graduation, vacation turns deadly when they accidentally hit a bear cub and suffer the wrath of the avenging mother Grizzly. What unfolds is a long dark night of stark raging fear as they face off against the wilds of nature. One swipe of the great slashing paw and you are shredded to pieces. With no cell phones, no weapons, no light and only tension mounting, all the students have are their wits, a prayer and each other. Directed by horror master David DeCoteau (The Brotherhood) and including fierce shocks and slashing surprises, Grizzly Rage is a lean and uncompromising fear match between man and nature. New From: $4.95 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related John E. Meredith “Four slices of white bread . . .” Heh-heh. Nicely done. Is it wrong that you kinda made me want to see this terrible movie? And is it wrong that I kinda want a huge mouthful of toxic waste, just to see what superpowers I might get?