Grizzly Park (V)

Not to be confused with RHI’s release GRIZZLY RAGE, this film from Writer/Director Tom Skull is the “other” big bear movie of the month. I gotta tell you…between these two films and TIMBER FALLS, I’m seriously considering never going camping again—and certainly not with the cast of this flick!

When a group of teenage kids serving community service for a barrage of misdemeanor charges is sent to the woods to help a Ranger clean trash off the trails before the park closes for the winter, they get more than they bargained for after an escaped serial killer and a bloodthirsty bear begin tracking them.

Skull has taken a page from the slasher film handbook and thrown it into the campfire—its ashes scattered all over this film. But the production has one big twist to it—like all great slasher films, the sinners are getting what they deserve. The difference this time is who’s dealing out the death!

A slick production, I can’t remember the last time a direct to DVD horror film looked or sounded so good. The locations are beautiful, the cinematography is excellent and the score—expect for a few misguided song inclusions—is reasonably affecting. The effects work is on it’s A-game and the producers even managed to score a cameo from Ron Howard’s dad Rance. So it’s really disheartening to watch the production and discover that virtually no one besides Rance can act.

OK, that’s a bit unfair, as most of the cast provides straight-line b-movie acting performances. This is only jarring because for all intents and purposes, the filmmakers behind GRIZZLY PARK seem to be striving for a Hollywood-styled production. It seems that the blame here lies squarely on Skull, since the casts resumes reveal that the bulk of them are hardly neophytes when it comes to stepping in front of the lens. Perhaps a tight schedule and a tight budget limited the number of takes or perhaps it is because the director—and not the cast—was the newbie on the set, either way, something is amiss in GRIZZLY PARK. Of course, the script is surly not helping them out, as it’s designed to make everyone in the production a caricature—an issue it attempts to amend later on as each character has the opportunity to reveal what they did to arrive in the woods. Unfortunately, once the characters come clean about their past, the future is awfully brief.

Trying to score GRIZZLY PARK in a standard rating scale reveals an exacting degree of difficulty. If I had to put it against a film like TIMBER FALLS where the production has a Hollywood budget and studio behind it, the film would be bad (maybe not as bad as TIMBER FALLS) but definitely not good. Put up against another low budget film like GRIZZLY RAGE, PARK comes out looking a bit better. For one thing, the bear in this film is all over the production, interacting with characters and generally being pretty damn scary (such was not the case with GRIZZLY RAGE). So, does GRIZZLY PARK qualify as a good film, or a bad film? I’ll just be diplomatic and tell you that it’s a pretty good bad film.

Official Score