June 2, 2008

DVD Review: Grizzly Park

What do you get when you cross See No Evil (yes, the horror film starring pro-wrestler Kane) and Jaws? The answer is simple; you get Grizzly Park. Of course, I am sure most of you already guessed what the answer was going to be. Now, consider this, we all know that Jaws is going to be the superior film, but would you be surprised to learn that See No Evil is also superior? Even if I didn't like that slasher film (which I do), I would have to admit it was the better of the choices. Watching Grizzly Park is a good thing to do if you are suffering from insomnia. It plods along with nothing much happening. That nothing is being done by a group of simply awful characters who don't have an ounce of brains between them.

So, what is Grizzly Park about? Well, the tag line gives it all away: "It's Gonna be a Bear." No kidding. I had no idea that a movie called Grizzly Park was going to have a bear. Now, if you flip the case over and read the description, it offers a little bit more promise. The description tells of an escaped serial killer with an insatiable bloodlust. Now you've got my attention, not only is there a bear loose in the woods, there is also a killer? Get out of my way I have a movie to watch! When the movie was over, I woke up. As it turns out, serial killers and bears don't mix all that well.

Anyway, eight kids with law trouble are sent to Grizzly Park for a week in order to clean up the trash left behind by sloppy patrons (very similar to the kids sent to clean the hotel in See No Evil). So, the kids all get to the park, where they are paired with Ranger Bob (Glenn Morshower of 24 fame) as their guide. Off they go, making their way through the park, picking up trash, while Ranger Bob warns them of the dangers of bears, snakes, and the importance of not feeding any of the forest critters they encounter. We all know that this is not going to work too well, else we wouldn't have a story, such as it is.

I know that really doesn't tell you much, but how much do you really need to now? This is a direct to video horror film that has a group of delinquents roaming the woods waiting to get picked off by either a serial killer or a bear. There is not much in the way of subtext or depth to be had.

If make the mistake of actually listening to the characters, you are likely to lose a few IQ points in the process. Grizzly Park has some of the stupidest characters I have ever seen in any movie. Well, that may be stretching it a bit, but if you subject yourself to this movie, you will see just where I am coming from. The kids arrive dressed in their city finest, as if they were going out to the club. Apparently, none of them have a clue as to what a forest is and what you should where when entering into one. This lack of intelligence is backed up whenever they open their mouths. This is capped by what may be the best line in the movie: "I thought it was a forest cat." This will have your eyes rolling and possibly scrambling for the stop button.

Frankly, I don't care if I spoil this for you, but the entire serial killer subplot takes a few scenes totaling, perhaps, five minutes. Yes, he does get a couple of lame kills, but his spree comes to a close when he gets into a knife fight with the killer bear (whose own screen time is also about five minutes). The vast majority of the run time is filled by the kids saying stupid things, doing stupid things, and just being generally stupid, while Glenn Morshower just looks tired and wonders how he got roped into this project.

If you try to make sense of the characters and the mythology of the film, you are going to need some aspirin. First, let's look at the kids. We learn that they are there for everything from shoplifting to prostitution to computer hacking. Hmmm, these things don't seem to go together and likely deserved punishment other than public service in a park. If you believe the variety of crimes, you will not believe that this group of rejects has the intelligence to pull them off. As for the serial killer? There was no reason to have this subplot other than to pad out the run time.

The big killer bear has his (hers?) mythology hinted at by a Bible verse at the beginning of the film. Unfortunately, that is as far as it goes. The bear's presence in the film is just happenstance and has no real importance to the kids other than as a means to their demise. I suppose it is meant to be a force of nature, too bad it is just dull.

Finally, a special mention has to be made for that supremely goofy campfire song that appears a couple of times throughout the film. You'll know it when you hear it.

Audio/Video. Nothing special, but nothing terrible either. The colors are rather lifeless, but that is more the nature of the shoot than it is anything with the transfer. It is free of defects and all is crisp and clean.

Extras. This release has some added material to watch, but if you make it through the movie, I doubt you will want to take the time.
  • Commentary. The track features writer/director Tom Skull (great name for a horror director) and producer Belle Avery. If the movie didn't put you under, this track will. The two participants have no life at all and there are plenty of dead spots to make you forget you are even listening to it.
  • What is Grizzly Park? This brief behind the scenes fluff piece is pretty funny, especially when they talk about how deep and interesting the characters are.
  • Filming a Real Bear. Includes interviews with the bear's trainer, who doubled as the serial killer in the film. It also shows the cast as being afraid with the caged bear nearby.
  • You Reap What You Sow. The main thread that works through the movie. Sure.
  • Brody Stand-In. A guy hunched over in a bear suit losing his head while roaming outside a shack that a few of the kids are hiding in.
  • Trailer. This makes it look more interesting than it really is.
  • Previews. Trailers for films like Alien Agent, Lost Colony, Hack!, Loaded, and Borders Lost.

Bottomline. This is not a good movie. Poorly written, poorly executed, and just flat out boring. There are much better "animal kills people" movies out there that you can waste your time with.

Not Recommended.


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