Reelbloodies! My god, we’ve done it! We have put to bed the zombie movie review streak, ending with the most Allowable of zombie flicks ever, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead. Though it will be in my normal rotation henceforth, I can’t say I’m going to miss zombie movies in general for a long while. We definitely covered the wide array of the cinematic undead. Alas, we shall proceed now. Onward we go into the deep and lush forestry of the Great White North. Our journey takes us to the gorgeous country of Canada, where many of my fave scary flicks have been shat forth from some absolutely great horror minds. One of those minds is Adam MacDonald, a fine gent with whom I had the pleasure of interviewing earlier in the year. I saw him in a cool little horror film called Home Sweet Home, and upon further investigation discovered he wrote and directed the movie we will talk about today: Backcountry. You can read my interview with Adam over on our Interviews page when you’re done with this, but for now let’s talk about the film itself. Actually, should we get all of the puns out of the way now? Yes, let’s paws and do that real quick...
Ok, did you get them all out of your system fur now? Good. Let’s proceed.
Based on true events, Backcountry follows nostalgic and nature-loving Alex (played wonderfully by Jeff Roop) and his somewhat uptight city-dwelling girlfriend Jenn (Missy Peregrym) as they spend the weekend camping in the Canadian wilderness. It’s not long after their journey begins that Alex’s stubborn attitude and overzealous demeanor single-handedly lead the couple astray and into harm’s way. The trip takes an unfortunate direction (or misdirection as it turns out) and the couple faces their toughest challenge of all: a black bear…a very hungry and determined black bear. This sets into place their fight for survival by any means necessary, proving once and for all that men just simply need to ask for directions for god’s sake. Seriously, that stigma has existed for far too long and in the case of Backcountry (and every road trip I’ve taken my wife on), the results are disastrous.
With every ounce of survival instinct and desire to return from whence they came, the couple gives it their all to make it back to safety. Will they make it? Will they become the main course on a silver platter alongside acorns and berries, devoured by this determined beast? You’re going to have to watch and find out. Oh, don’t worry…you won’t have to wait long. Backcountry will be available in theaters in select cities and various VOD platforms this Friday, 3/20.
The movie is definitely a solid effort by MacDonald. It’s horror, no doubt, but not in the sense of slashers and demented clowns and satanic baby goat slayings. The true horror of this film lies in its ability to feed off of the age old story of man vs. nature. The fact that the film is based on true events only solidifies that notion, and MacDonald plays to it perfectly. That first time you see and hear that bear, you know it’s all business from that point on. It’s a slow burn, and there are no twists and turns (you’ll hear no complaint from me with either of those traits). It’s a straight forward and effective film that wastes no time tapping into that primal fear of the unknown as well as the very obvious fear of meeting your own demise at the hands of well, a wild fucking black bear. The potential of coming face to face with your own mortality is essentially one of the truest forms of horror I’ve come to know. Backcountry feeds off of that exceedingly well. You'll definitely want to go check out this nature thriller. You'll definitely think twice before loading the SUV down with camping gear for the weekend.
I’m giving this a solid 6.5 out of 10 cleavers, and I’ll be watching it again soon. You can follow the film for all the latest updates via Twitter and FB.