Backcountry - A Movie Review
'Backcountry' was a chance to see a terrifying realistic depiction of bears
Watch out for bears when you go camping. Seriously.
Backcountry is a 2014 film based on the true events of a couple who get lost on a hiking trip. Searching for the right way back, they accidentally trespass into the territory of a ferocious bear.
Before watching this film, I never knew how terrifying bears were. Backcountry is a grueling film. For most of the movie, I had to look away from the unsettling action, feeling on-edge, praying for the characters to get out of this situation alive. Replacing sharks, a bear takes the screen, showing viewers how dangerous it is to have a bear sniffing outside of your tent.
Jeff Roop (Alex) and Missy Peregrym (Jenn) were outstanding. The film is quick to set up their relationship instead of giving unnecessary exposition. Based on their interactions, they establish their sarcastic relationship. They carried the entire film. Their expressions of exhaustion, horror, and anger were genuine. I actually believed that I was watching a real horror story play out.
One aspect that filmmakers did a good job on was the minimal casting. At first, I thought that Brad (Eric Balfour) was an unnecessary character who randomly shows up one night at their campsite. Brad is an obnoxious person who happily riles up trouble which he senses between Alex and Jenn when making crude remarks.
After some thought, Brad was important, bringing out subtle difficulties that Alex and Jenn have trouble showing because of their gender. Gender plays a huge role in this film. It is tough being our gender due to the norms of society. As a man, Alex wants to prove himself to Jenn that he is a beneficial leader and will provide to her. The disappointment that he lost his way made for an endless battle of turmoil that guilted Alex.
As for Jenn, women’s roles have changed. Jenn teaches women that they need to take action and fight their own battles. Finding herself in a position where she needs to make her own decisions for the sake of her survival, Jenn’s perilous trek reflects bravery and a powerful journey of growth.
The cinematography and editing are the masterpieces of Backcountry. Filmmakers knew how to deliver this film to the eyes of audiences. Building up suspense is what horror is all about. We don’t know what is lurking in these woods. Scenes that take place at night make you so paranoid that even a tree scares you.
Adam McDonald made great decisions in his direction. With excellent storytelling devices, he turned the movie from a romantic drama to an on-edge survival film. He never let viewers stop guessing about what could happen next. He studied camera angles very well, making the screen dark or unfocused to get inside the minds of the characters. I felt like I was along for this endless hike, feeling like a bear was stalking me.
Backcountry was a chance to see a terrifying realistic depiction of bears. Now, I know I should take a bear sighting seriously if I am ever walking alone in the woods. This ferocious bear was only on my TV screen, but I could swear that it was walking right towards me. And also smell it.
Be warned that this film is gory. The pivotal scene in which takes place with the bear is the scariest scene I have ever seen in a movie for the longest time. It’s realistic. My heart was pounding, and I cringed, looking away from the screen waiting for the attack to be over.
Find Backcountry on Netflix. It was riveting, and I recommend it. A new predator takes the screen for a change.