BACKCOUNTRY [2015]

 

Backcountry-e1424103325231

Directed and Written by Adam MacDonald

Starring: Missy Peregrym, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell

Camping sucks. We know this from endless comedy shows telling us so. You see, we humans like technology. It makes us feel all gooey inside, not to mention it allows us to distract ourselves from the fact that life itself is rather miserable and depressing. I mean, just watch the news for a day or two. What a downer. Technology is also great for folk who are lazy. In fact, as time goes by, technology is increasingly designed to make our life easier.

I mean, what ever happened to natural selection? Evolution is now based on who has the most featured packed iPhone rather than the survival of the fittest. Is this a good thing? I don’t think so, as by depending more and more on technology, our race is becoming lazier and much more easily frustrated. We are devolving.

Imagine throwing one of those old brick Nokia phones for a 13 year old to use. They would probably slap you because it doesn’t have Bluetooth or Facebook. Its a scary thought.

Anyhow I have strayed off point. Or perhaps this movie is a rumination on our dependence on technology and how this can affect the notion of the survival of the fittest. Who knows? But that is one thing that I certainly took from this movie.

2014 Features_BACKCOUNTRY3

If you know of this movie then you probably know of the basic premise. We take a trip into a massive forest, as Brad – Jeff Roop – knows the place well and is confident in his memory of the forest. The giant, never-ending forest. Forget the fact the place obviously spans several hectares. He doesn’t need a map, he is a man. So this guy irritated me from the beginning and he didn’t really stop, unless he was sleeping. But this swagger is sure to impress his girlfriend Jenn, played by Missy Peregrym. Yep I had to look up the names too, I haven’t heard of anyone here. Which is a testament to the film, as it for the most part looks very polished.

BackCountryFeat

I have a problem with one basic element of this flick. Rather than suspenseful encounters with nature, which we have in small doses, the majority of the movie is a couple having ‘couple problems’. It is mindlessly boring, and unfortunately because of this wildly uninteresting dialogue, we don’t care when the two stumble across things no one wants to see.  The couple quarrel. Then they make up. Then they fight some more. Then they see something odd. No matter, they fight some more. The movie tries to build suspense many times, but it fails more often than not as all the dialogue before and after sounds like a goddamn soap opera. It seems that Brad’s incredible knowledge of the forest has failed spectacularly, and instead of climbing a trail to a lake, they climb a trail only to witness a sea of trees; the forest stretching as far as the eyes can see. Woops, nice move.

20BACKCOUNTRY-facebookJumbo

I’ll give this flick one thing, it certainly looks nice. Well, when the goddamn cameraman is holding his camera still that is. Honestly, while some landscape shots are immaculately captured, during scenes of action the camerawork suddenly looks as if the camera is being held by an epileptic having a seizure. The camera shakes just a little too much throughout the movie, especially the second half, squashing any good shots possible during the good scenes, flailing about, missing the juicy bits. Add to this an attention span of a young ADD-riddled child when it comes to zoom and focus, and I’m guessing you can get a pretty good idea of how most of the film looks. Depth of field and clear/blurry images are melded together in a cacophonous fashion, none of it making any logical sense.  As an avid photographer myself, it gets hard to watch.  At least though we have some occasional pretty pictures to hold our attention.

thumbnail_20728

I like the premise behind this flick, I really do. Throw away technology, throw some people into a remote and dangerous setting where they suddenly aren’t sitting high and dry on top of the food chain, and unleash hell. Or a scary-arse bear. Now it really is the survival of the fittest. As if this wasn’t enough, Brad in his infinite genius stole Jenn’s phone before they started the trek – hence my ramblings at the top of the page. Though… her face was buried in it when the movie begins; I’d have been annoyed by that too. So it would seem technology can be useful to our survival, especially when trapped in a giant forest with no map while a giant bear hunts you. Unfortunately though, the angry pissed off bear somehow seems like a background character. There is far too much couple bullshit – the ratio is way off. Too much talking, not enough bear. I was screaming “eat them” at the screen for much of the second half.

black-bear-backcountry-movieh_1

What could you call this? A romantic thriller? Mmmm catchy. But even that is exaggerating, as the movie delivers few thrills, really. There are some great scenes, especially one taking place inside a tent, but they are few and far between. The poor dialogue that is devoid of any action whatsoever doesn’t help. Then it ends in a sudden and extremely underwhelming fashion. At roughly 90 minutes at least it was efficient, but I honestly can only remember three good scenes involving the bear, four at the most.

I am being harsh here, this flick is better than I am making it out to be, but the script really lets a good concept down. It is worth a rental. I can’t help but think though, if the two weren’t a couple this would have been an entirely different film.

3/5