Backcountry movie what's the real story
|It was supposed to be a romantic camping weekend in the wilderness, that's what Alex had planned for his fiancée Jenn. Out of the big city, into the national park, a hike without a map or technical aids. The young lawyer Jenn is reluctant to leave her beloved smartphone behind, and the park ranger warns the two of the merciless wilderness. After three days of walking it becomes clear: Jenn and Alex are hopelessly lost, their supplies are almost exhausted. The situation is getting more and more scary. Did the two of them enter the territory of a dangerous black bear without knowing it? And what is the strange stranger doing in the wooded area?|
With his first work, author and director Adam MacDonald presents a straightforward and honest film that draws viewers into the action and soon won't let them go. The realistic problems of his two campers Jenn and Alex on a poorly planned trail quickly lead the viewer into the action. The young couple's relationship problems soon take a back seat to fear when they lose their bearings in the vast Canadian wilderness. And become a struggle for survival when a black bear attacks. “Based on a true story,” says the cover, referring to events like 2005 in Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park, Canada, where thirty-year-old Jacqueline Perry was fatally injured by a bear. In addition to the realistic staging and good main actors, “Backcountry” wins thanks to camera work and effects that pull the viewer deep into the archaic struggle for survival. After MacDonald slowly leads the plot towards the attack of the predator, the last third cannot let go of the viewer. "Backcountry" is less of a classic horror film than a drastic adventure film from the everyday life of average people. Those who value thrilling tension and are not afraid of blood and screams should not miss “Backcountry - Merciless Wilderness”.
Our author Peter Schrandt wrote the article.
Jenn and Alex are on their way to Nibookaazo Provincial Park for a trek through the Canadian wilderness. When Carl, the park ranger, offers them a ticket, Alex declines thanks, he knows the park like the back of his hand. Really not? Asks the ranger, the weather could change quickly at the end of the season. But Alex is sure he doesn't need any help on the Blackfoot Trail.
The canoe takes you into the woods, nature is a new experience for Jenn. While preparing for night camp, the two meet the experienced outdoor man Brad, whom Alex is skeptical about. The next day they part ways. Alex notices the imprint of a bear's paw, but does not point it to his girlfriend. When she sees a broken branch, she senses that something big is close and wants to turn back, but Alex changes her mind: they would have waited so long for the trip. And in his pocket is an engagement ring that he would like to give her later in a romantic moment. New doubts soon arise, and this time the danger becomes more tangible: there is a wrecked deer on their way.
"Alex, where’s the lake?" Instead of the expected sight that should form the engagement backdrop, there is only forest, and Alex has to admit that he has lost his orientation. The last time he walked the trail was in high school, he admits. Jenn is looking for her phone in a panic, but Alex has secretly taken it out of her backpack and left it in the car. He wanted to be with her undisturbed in nature.
The supplies will soon be used up, the night before something had torn the bag hanging in front of the tent. The night falls. But the two now engaged give each other courage in their desperation: "Could be worse, at least we're together," says Jenn. But when a huge black bear appears in front of the tent the next morning and attacks, all other problems take a back seat. Deep in the Canadian wilderness begins a life-and-death struggle that reduces everything to bare survival ...
Wow. The three points at the end of the synopsis are very thick, because especially in the last third of the film, the struggle for survival does not let go of the viewer for a second. This does not mean that the introduction is lengthy, on the contrary: Adam MacDonald leads intelligently to the climax, in which he lets his protagonists set off on their trip every day and offers the viewer a basis for identification. The awareness of being lost deep in the woods already keeps the tension high and is staged credibly by the actors as well as by the camera work. The director skillfully condenses the references to the danger of something big and lets the notion of what is in front of the screen grow increasingly.
Adam MacDonald uses horror elements in some places. This includes the title insert, which hits a scene with the couple happily fooling around in the car, and Jenn's shocked question where the expected lake is, followed by horror music. In the night without orientation, theatrical thunder comes up. But Adam MacDonald's drama does not need such effects. Out of everyday life, he subtly and consistently leads his couple into misery on an adventure holiday, and uses silent signs such as a paw print, a broken branch in front of the tent and looted supplies as a sign of a threat that is bigger and more dangerous than anything that the youngsters have Met city dwellers so far. A danger that Alex does not want to admit to his girlfriend: "It was a raccoon last night, I saw the little shit," he says when the storage bag in front of the tent is torn in the morning. But the pictures suggest that much more than a raccoon threatens the inexperienced hiker.
The camera work has a strong effect when the predator is hidden from the tent tarpaulin for the first time and then becomes visible through the tent zipper. The helpless resistance against the attacking bear is accompanied by a restless camera and silence with a tinnitus noise. Once again, a high-frequency whistle over silence is used together with a blurring of the image when Jenn hits a tree while fleeing for her life in a panic.
Christian Bielz uses his camera meaningfully. The photography turns the picturesque waterfall into a life-threatening hurdle for the driven, and even when the two stranded hikers lose their orientation, aerial photos show a dense forest turning from the air and illustrate the dimension of the wilderness. From the ground perspective, Christian Bielz clarifies the effect in which he moves his camera upwards along huge tree trunks.
The film wins especially with the book and the presentation. Writer and director Adam MacDonald shows Alex with macho tendencies: he proudly announces his male leading role that he can make a fire without matches and shows him overestimating himself, always trying to impress his soon-to-be fiancé. The encounter with Brad in the forest deepens this, Alex sees his outdoor sovereignty in question. He makes fun of Jenn's equipment, signal light and "bear maze" as a spray to ward off bears. By persuading the inexperienced woman to go on a long tour with him and by foregoing a map puts both in great danger; and when he secretly takes her mobile phone from her before leaving, he shows his thoughtlessness and arrogance. Above all, Missy Peregrym as Jenn cuts a good figure as she portrays the transformation of the attractive young lawyer with a high Blackberry affinity to an archaic figure in the struggle for survival in the wilderness.
Adam MacDonald got the idea for the film when he heard noises in front of the tent while camping with his wife. During his research, he found the case of thirty-year-old Jacqueline Perry and Mark Jordan, who were attacked by a bear in Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park north of Chapleau, Ontario in 2005. Jacqueline died of fatal injuries in the canoe. In desperation, Mark stabbed the bear with his pocket knife. The canoe motif from this was so important to Adam MacDonald that he wanted to take it up in the film. It was his concern to offer the people who were attacked by bears a respectful, authentic approach to the topic and to show the seriousness of the situation, he says in an interview with Perri Nemiroff for collider.com. That includes using real bears instead of CGI.
Image and sound are flawless in the 2014 production, the camera manages a fantastic balance between nature as a romantic, untouched place and as a life-threatening backdrop. The sound mix allows the effects to be present without over-emphasizing the level control in the action scenes.
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1 x DVD "Backcountry - Merciless Wilderness"
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Pandastorm Pictures GmbH presents "Backcountry - Merciless Wilderness" from July 10th, 2015 on Blu-ray Disc ™, DVD and as VoD.
The review and raffle copies were provided by Pandastorm Pictures GmbH. Thank you very much.
Original title: Backcountry
Country / Year: Canada / 2014
Genre: Action, drama, horror
Actor: Missy Peregrym as Jenn; Eric Balfour as Brad; Nicholas Campbell as the Ranger; Jeff Roop as Alex et al.
Director: Adam MacDonald
Script: Adam MacDonald
Producer: Thomas Michael
Camera: Christian Bielz
Cut: Dev Singh
Music: Frères Lumières
Blu-ray Disc ™
Running time: approx. 92 min. + bonus
Image format: 2.38: 1 / 1080p24 / AVC
Sound format:DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitle: German English
Extras:Trailer, trailer show
Website for the film: Backcountry - Merciless Wilderness
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