The Horror Honeys: Behind Every Great Man Is a Great Woman... And a Bear.

Behind Every Great Man Is a Great Woman... And a Bear.

A Guest Monster Honey Survival Review by Jennica

I remember seeing Open Water back in 2003 and being absolutely terrified to go too far out into the ocean for a while, not just because that's where big scary fish live, but because the film was based on actual events. A lot of movie posters nowadays have the phrase "based on a true story" slapped onto them as if it's replacing catchy horror tag lines, but Open Water was different. There wasn't a haunted house, or a possessed child, or aliens. Open Water was a basic man-versus-nature story with a tragic ending. The events in that movie could happen to me out of sheer bad luck.

Inspired by Open Water, Adam MacDonald makes his feature film debut with Backcountry (2014). Based on a true story of a bear encounter in Ontario, Backcountry gives me yet another reason to avoid the great outdoors at all costs.

When a young couple embark on a would-be romantic camping trip, they find themselves lost in the woods and stalked by a vicious bear (like there is any other kind). 

Unlike the snoozefest Animal (2014), which had its day in Horror Honeys court last week, the use of sound--or lackthereof-- in Backcountry proves to have a powerful impact. The film's use of silence and slow-motion once the bear begins to attack show just how instantaneously time ceases to exist at the initial point of a traumatic experience. And I found myself right there in the woods with the couple, completely frozen, even though I never left my couch. Nothing else mattered but my hopes of seeing the characters make it to the end of the movie. Or at least to the end of the scene.

What really helped keep me on the edge of my seat during this intensely bumpy ride were the lovable characters. On their drive to the forest, I got to know the couple very quickly and it was impossible not to be in awe of their chemistry. He plays an annoying CD in the car, she reads aloud from a girly magazine, they dance like dorks. Usual cute couple stuff. But I was rooting for them the whole time because they acted like people rather than disposable horror stereotypes. Although I guess it could prove difficult to screw up a movie with only two leads.

"Sorry. That was me."
Looking beyond the power couple, the film has an unexpectedly strong female lead. Jenn (Missy Peregrym, not me), didn't exactly strike me as the flannel shirt-wearing camping type at first. After seeing her overstuffed bag and the deathgrip she had on her smart phone, it was easy to mistake her for a city brat. But when the bear shit hit the fan, she turned out to be a regular girl scout in the wilderness. 

Not only is Jenn a bad-ass character, but the actress Missy Peregrym is a real-life bad-ass. In a generation of movies filled with CGI animation, Backcountry went all-natural so-to-speak and used actual bears. 
This guy really killed during auditions.
Honestly, I don't have much to complain about with this movie. Aside from a few minor idiocies that should be featured in a guide to how not to survive in the wild, Backcountry is an effective reimagining of one couple's experience with the deadly side of nature.

Jennica's Rating: 4 Not-So-Happy Campers out of 5

Whether or not you're the outdoorsy type, I highly recommend checking out Backcountry. Just don't forget the bear spray.

Bear spray... Y'know... for the horrible Bear Breath.