No Teddy Bear's Picnic
When an old friend goes missing up in an area of the mountains his father called 'The Grizzly Maze', Rowan (James Marsden - 2 Guns) hopes to slip in and out of town without being noticed. It doesn't go as planned and he ends up running in to his estranged cop brother Beckett (Thomas Jane - Drive Hard) who like him had been raised by their father in the bear infested woods but since meeting nature loving photographer Michelle (Piper Perabo - Looper) has championed the protection of the local bear population. But when it becomes clear they have a killer grizzly in the area, the brothers along with childhood friend Kaley (Michaela McManus) set out to hunt the bear before hunter Douglass (Billy Bob Thornton - Faster), who will happily kill any bear he comes across.
Considering "Into the Grizzly Maze" is not the most complicated movie, a group hunting a killer Grizzly bear become the hunted, there is a lot of character depth been included into the story. And to be honest, whilst I often moan about horror movies failing to have interesting, fleshed out characters in this case I think they have gone a bit over the top. As such you have Rowan who has had trouble with the law, his brother the cop who once hunted but now protects bears, his wife who happens to be deaf, then there is Kaley who was close to Rowan as a child and had a run in with the bear. And on top of this we also have Douglass the hunter who had a close shave once as well as Sully, a retiring chief of police. We learn so much about these six characters that at times some of it feels like it has been added but has no relevance to the story.
But of course "Into the Grizzly Maze" is all about man versus beast, well beast as in Bart the Bear who is in truth an impressive creature. The thing about "Into the Grizzly Maze" is that whilst we get some scenes where someone is being attacked by the grizzly it never feels real even if it is graphic. And unfortunately that simply comes down to it coming across like scenes of Bart the Bear looking fierce and growling have been sliced together with say footage of a person being attacked by something we don't really see. Yes there are some scenes where it looks like the Grizzly is about to bite a person's head off but it just never really delivers the terrifying experience I believe it is trying to do. In fact cliche moments, such as someone being spiked by a branch, are more horrifying than a lot of the bear action.
Despite this "Into the Grizzly Maze" is still entertaining and that comes down to the basics. The whole hunters becoming the hunted never really fails and despite the slight too much character depth the casting is spot on. As such James Marsden and Thomas Jane make for a good lead pair, delivering the action side of things in a solid manner whilst Billy Bob Thornton brings just enough quirky to the part of Douglass.
What this all boils down to is that "Into the Grizzly Maze" is certainly an entertaining 94 minutes with plenty of action, But it isn't the horror movie that it could have been and in truth never quiet delivers the real horror of being hunted and attacked by a grizzly bear.