For various not boring reasons, a bunch of idiots and arseholes (played by dependable pros like James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Piper Perabo, Scott Glenn and Billy Bob Thornton) converge on a piece of Alaskan wilderness one character’s dead dad dubbed the Grizzly Maze because “even grizzlies can get lost there”. There’s killer grizzly stuff, brotherly reconciliation, and so many clichés any drinking game would be of actual physical danger.
Which, apart from the cast, all sounds rather second rate SyFy Original,
doesn’t it? Unfortunately, while certainly looking much better than your average
second rate SyFy Original, David Hackl’s Into the Grizzly Maze is much
less entertaining. It might be its nearly offensive stupidity (yes, even in
comparison), a script so full of bizarre holes, plain stupid plot devices and
clichés its basically inexplicable, or the problem might just be that the film
makes a lot of grand gestures supposed to suggest it is a nature strikes back
movie on the level of Jaws when it is rather one on the level of
Grizzly (without the whole “cheap as dirt” excuse the Girdler film has
going for it, mind you).
The actors are completely wasted on characters that are walking, talking
clichés, and not the kind of cliché that feels like an archetype but one that
feels like lazy writing and disinterest in making any character here interesting
instead of obvious. The poor people also have to get through dialogue as bad as
it comes. Just try and keep a straight face through even a single sentence
Thornton’s Great White Hunter character says, or stop groaning whenever anyone
opens his or her mouth.
Even this much crap could still have been made watchable through competent
animal attack sequences and decent thriller pacing. Alas, both aren’t in the
cards either, for the animal attacks are generally neither clever, nor
interesting, nor awesome but are set up with just as little intelligence as the
rest of the film demonstrates, while the pacing stops and starts thanks to the
film’s insistence on having a lot of characters that are only in the film to
talk nonsense and spend way too much time on their uninvolving melodrama (whose
ends and consequences are of course obvious right from the start in any case for
anyone who has not grown up on some sort of isolated island where TVs and
cinemas don’t exist).