dvd review: GRIZZLY RAGE

Honestly, I need to have my head examined for watching crap like this. It’s not like I didn’t know this film was going to suck before I even popped the disc in to the player, but I never imagined that Grizzly Rage could ever be as bad as it was, but it was absofuckinglutley terrible.

Part of the problem was that my expectations had been set by another film about a killer grizzly bear—William Girlder’s 1976 Jaws rip-off, Grizzly (a.k.a. Claws). When I was a kid, I convinced by uncle to take me to see Grizzly, which scared the hell out of me so bad that I made us leave the theatre before the movie was over, and I got rid of my favorite teddy bear. Years later I finally got around to rewatching Grizzly—this time all the way through—and was embarrassed that I could have been scared by such a lamebrain piece of B-movie trash. But it at least Grizzly had youthful nostalgia going for it, which is what made me foolishly think that Grizzly Rage might have some sort of entertainment value, which of course led me to watch this nonsense. Man, do I feel stupid.

Things start off with little to no promise as we are introduced to four friends that have just graduated high school (forget the fact that the youngest looks about 25), who are headed off to the woods for what we can only assume is a party. They decide to take a detour down a closed road, and while tooling around in their jeep like a bunch of morons, they hit and kill a grizzly bear cub. This doesn’t sit well with the momma grizzly bear that proceeds to hunt and kill our hapless quartet of  stupid jackasses.

There are so many things wrong with Grizzly Rage that the list is pretty much endless. First you have to start with the poorly written script that is only counter-balanced by the ill-conceived story. With a total runtime of 86 minutes, Arne Olsen’s unmitigated piece-of-crap script doesn’t even have enough substance to carry a 30-minute short. The film is literally four people and one bear, and absofuckinglutely nothing else. And that would be fine if the characters were interesting, and had interesting things to say, but that’s simply not the case.

In addition to the bad script, the film also has a major problem in that it sets up two “interesting” subplot devices, but never follows through with either. (By “interesting” what I mean to say is that these are subplots that hold the promise of at least getting this film out of the toilet.) The first subplot that goes absolutely nowhere is the barrels of toxic waste one of the soon-to-be-victims discovers in the woods. This sets us up to expect to find out that the bear has somehow been affected by the toxic waste. So, there you are, bored out of your skull by a film with no nudity, no blood and guts, and absofuckinglutely no intelligence, and you’re waiting for the bear to do something other than stand on its hind legs and growl. But it never happens. The bear never reveals telepathic abilities developed from exposure to the toxic waste, nor does it break the fourth wall by turning to the camera and saying, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

As if the failure to develop the toxic waste subplot was not bad enough, the characters we don’t care about stumble across a cabin in the woods that holds the promise of being the home of some crazed hermit who has been hunting this killer grizzly for years. Or maybe the cabin is the home of some mutant clan of rednecks who have become crazed cannibals after years of exposure to toxic waste. Or maybe the cabin is home of mutant hybrid of a grizzly bear and a redneck. But no, this is just an empty cabin that is in the middle of the woods.

At the very least you would hope that Grizzly Rage is laughably bad, but it doesn’t even inspire a chuckle or half a grin. It is as bad as bad can get, and without some of the more common exploitation elements we should expect from a journeyman hack like director David DeCoteau—the man responsible for classics like Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000—there is no reason to watch this movie. Unless, of course, it were possible to use a DVD in place of toilet paper, then Grizzly Rage might be of some practical use.

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