From director Adam MacDonald comes Backcountry, a survival horror movie that is loosely based on a true story.
What Is Backcountry About?
Alex (Jeff Roop) and his girlfriend Jen (Missy Peregrym) decide to go camping for the weekend. When they arrive, the trail Alex wanted to take is closed and being an alpha male trying to impress Jen, he refuses a map, confident that he knows the park well.
After they set up camp for the night, they meet tour guide Brad (Eric Balfour), who irritates Alex by flirting with Jen. So the following morning, to once again prove his manhood, Alex decides to go off-trail, deeper into the park, where he remembers there is a lake with a waterfall.
Despite some big red flags, including a bear paw print and a half-devoured dead deer, Alex keeps ploughing on. By the time he realises he has gotten them both hopelessly lost, Jen discovers that he also left their phones in the car.
Jen, understandably, gets very angry but with few options, they must set up camp and tend to Alex's now injured foot.
And that's when the horror gets dialled up. During the night, as the pair sleep, a predatory black bear approaches the camp and the following morning, they find that all of their food has been eaten.
It doesn't take them long to figure out that they are in an aggressive black bear's territory and need to get as far away as possible. But you can't outrun a bear and soon, all three come face to face.
Without giving too much of the plot away, our two hikers do not fare well against the bear and are soon fighting for their lives.
So they live? Do they die? You have to watch Backcountry to find out…
Backcountry Official Trailer
Is Backcountry Worth Watching?
There are many ways to put to scare viewers of a horror flick. But being ripped apart by a 400-pound wild adult bear is certainly one that is not seen that often. So, let's just say that writer/director Adam MacDonald has drawn a winning card with Backcountry.
Using every trick in the book, he creates a brilliantly tense experience. His use of the camera is both positive and negative. Yes, it creates atmosphere and a sense of isolation and claustrophobia that lets you identify with Alex and Jen.
But it is also very difficult to make out what exactly is happening. With so much of the film shot in the dark, when the camera shifts quickly, occasionally losing focus (for effect), you can't really see anything.
That said, for an independent movie, and such a small cast Backcountry is surprisingly good.
Cast as the loving couple on their first wilderness adventure together are Missy Peregrym and Jeff Roop, giving a remarkably realistic performance as a couple.
Plus, they are excellent in the most crucial scenes, like the bear attack, which is outrageously shocking. Nicholas Campbell gives an unnervingly odd performance as the Park Ranger and Eric Balfour gives an edgy performance as a wilderness guide whom the couple meets along the trail.
So is Backcountry worth watching? I have to admit that horror films are not my first choice but the unique premise provides an edge that few flicks can provide. Plus, the blend of an outdoor adventure with spectacular scenery adds to the appeal too.
Is Backcountry A True Story?
The movie is loosely based on the true story of a man-eating black bear that attacked Mark Jordan and Jacqueline Perry, at Missinaibi Lake, Ontario, in 2005.
Despite trying to fight off the bear, with Mark Jordan managing to stab it repeatedly, his wife was tragically killed while Mr. Jordan suffered multiple lacerations and several severed nerves.
Mark later received the Star of Courage award from Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
Backcountry Movie Cast
Missy Peregrym as Jen
Jeff Roop (Titans) as Alex
Eric Balfour as Brad
Nicholas Campbell as the Ranger
Chester and Charlie as the Bear