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Backcountry (2014) Film Review

October 21, 2015 2 comments

Can you imagine being hunted by a black bear in the outback? Without a phone, a weapon or someone to help you? If this doesn’t terrify you then you need to watch Backcountry (also known as Blackfoot trail).

This film, (based on a true story), is in one word: chilling. It taps into human emotions of fear and the ability to fight for survival. In a nutshell the plot is a couple go on a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness, but it soon takes a turn for the worse as they become lost without food or water and to make matters worse they soon discover they are being hunted by a black bear. It is a simple narrative but one that resonates.

I know I will be the first to admit that throughout the film I had a sense of fear (and nausea) in the bottom of my stomach. Their reality is so terrifying to watch and let unravel. We may think we are the ultimate hunters, however when in the wild, without weapons, we are vulnerable.

The production

Backcountry is a low-budget film that does not rely on special effects nor fancy techniques, but instead, relies on the situation unfolding to create terror and suspense. The lack of blood, guts and gore leaves your imagination running wild.

“In the true story, they got attacked at a campsite in the backcountry and he fought off the bear with a knife the best he could while the bear was mauling his girlfriend.  He put her in a canoe and they were like three hours out in the deep backcountry, so it wasn’t looking good and she passed away, sadly, in the canoe on the way.  The canoe is a big symbol for me in the end of the movie.  That’s what it’s based on.  It’s based on a tragic occurrence, but the sad part is, this happens again and again.  This happened many times.  There’s an older couple in Algonquin that was murdered in their sleep, eaten in their sleep by a black bear in Algonquin Park.  This is real stuff.”

You can read more from the Director, Adam MacDonald in this interview.

Overall I think the director manages to tastefully tell this story in a hard-hitting and emotive way; it’s a story of tragedy and loss, yet at the same time hope. It is refreshing to see a strong female character leading the narrative. Her resilience and strength is inspiring and captivating throughout. You find yourself praying for her survival.

Where would you run to? Where would you sleep? Do you think you’d survive?

If you haven’t seen this film then I really would recommend it. If you take away the drama and characters, it ultimately reminds you to be sensible when you are out camping; pack the necessities, know where you are camping and be aware of nature/wildlife. Do your research and don’t be foolish thinking you know best.

 

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