Another slung-together SciFi Channel monster movie without a single original element, perpetrated by the very busy David DeCoteau (whose trademark is male model-look fellows who take their shirts off).
Three guys and a girl take one of those ill-advised graduation trips (cf: Cabin Fever) – the blonde girl (Kate Todd) suggests that perhaps they shouldn’t break a chained gate and drive off down a trail marked no trespassing (cf: The Descent) but the three idiots with her pretend not to hear her whining. They run down a bear cub (cf: Orca – Killer Whale) with their trusty SUV and reason there’ll be an annoyed mother in the region. One of the guys has a baseball cap worn backwards (Tyler Hoechlin), another has a soul patch (Brody Harms) and the third wears a scarf over his shaven head like a black gangbanger (Graham Kosakoski) – which is enough to make most viewers want to see them die, even before they compound the bad situation by squabbling so much they crash their car (which has already overheated at the worst possible time) near a middle-of-nowhere toxic waste dump (cf: Prophecy) and start whining (‘why did this have to happen to us?’) to fill in the time between bear attacks. With only four characters, there aren’t even that many of them – soul patch gets got early, but gangbanger scarf is only wounded and hangs around for a long time expiring as his friends (who didn’t seem to like him much before he got hurt) are upset. DeCoteau only runs to very few shots of a rearing, snarling and prowling grizzly, so they tend to come round again often. A furry glove with claws is used whenever kids have to be clawed or thrown at shacks.
There isn’t much plot. What about that shack full of rusty beartraps? Who’s dumping the canisters? Is it a mutant bear? In all cases, no answers are forthcoming, though the stupid heroine does fall on one of the traps when a suspiciously long bear-arm reaches through the shack window. It might conceivably have been intended in the spirit of low-key, trapped-by-beasts pictures like Open Waters, Rogue or Prey (and could even have been intended to coattail-ride Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man), but DeCoteau would rather channel William Girdler’s Grizzly – albeit without even a guest star on the level of Lance Henriksen or Tobin Bell, let alone Andrew Prine or Richard Jaeckel. A score works overtime to pretend that flat sequences of people climbing easy cliffs are exciting, but a couple of half-way decent songs turn up on the soundtrack. The hero is the guy with the baseball cap — when he loses the cap, he looks less of a dork but had no personality left, until he takes his shirt off for the finale: he’s the one who climbs a cliff to see if he can get cell-phone reception at the top but doesn’t and then climbs back down again because the bear – who, like animals and monsters in general, can turn up wherever he damn feels like it without having to climb – looks out of the long grass at him. The heroine wonders if this is karmic payback because she once dented someone’s car while leaving a party – which is almost heroically feeble.
The finale takes place during a storm which features thunder and lightning, but doesn’t call on the services of an expensive rain machine: blonde and shirtless trap the bear in the shack, and celebrate prematurely (‘I can’t believe we made it’) but it breaks free and – because the guy trips over and for some reason doesn’t even try to get up and the girl for some other reason stays with him rather than run away – they both get swatted. The victims aren’t even mangled by the clawed glove – all the deaths are conveyed by shots of the growling bear, a screaming teenager and a CGI splat of blood across the lens. Now … Grizzly, Prophecy … those were proper bear attack movies.