Sunday 5 May 2024

Movie Review: Backcountry (2014)

Also Known As: Blackfoot Trail  
Genre: Survival Drama Horror  
Director: Adam MacDonald  
Starring: Missy Peregrym, Jeff Roop, Eric Balfour  
Running Time: 92 minutes  

Synopsis: Alex (Jeff Roop) and his girlfriend Jen (Missy Peregrym) embark on a multi-day camping trip deep into a Canadian Provincial Park. Having been raised in the area, Alex is the more experienced hiker and keen to show Jen the secluded Blackfoot Trail. She is more comfortable in urban surroundings and uneasy about the whole venture-into-the-woods project. On their first night they encounter hiker and eco tour guide Brad (Eric Balfour), who manufactures tension with Alex before departing. More trouble follows the couple, as they notice signs of a large bear in the area, then realize they are hopelessly lost.

What Works Well: Inspired by actual events, director and writer Adam MacDonald crafts an increasingly tense hike in the woods. Rarely releasing stress or pausing for breath, the drama purposefully marches towards the all-out horror of worst-case scenario confluence. The crescendo is amplified by mismatched protagonists, Alex and Jen often on different wavelengths and ignoring signs of relationship stress. Once the going gets tough (and it gets really tough), the hardships are both emotional and physical, stripping survival to instinctively raw levels. 

What Does Not Work As Well: Some of the acting is wooden, and the dialogue exchanges are often generic.

Conclusion: There's gore in them thar woods.

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