Backcountry (film)

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Backcountry
Backcountry Poster.jpg
Directed byAdam MacDonald
Produced byThomas Michael
Written byAdam MacDonald
StarringMissy Peregrym
Jeff Roop
Eric Balfour
Nicholas Campbell
Music byFrères Lumières
CinematographyChristian Bielz
Edited byDev Singh
Distributed byIFC Midnight
Release date
  • September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08) (TIFF)
  • March 20, 2015 (2015-03-20) (United States)
  • August 14, 2015 (2015-08-14) (Canada)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish

Backcountry is a 2014 Canadian naturesurvival horror film, written and directed by Adam MacDonald. It is loosely based on the true story of a man-eating bear and 30-year-olds Mark Jordan and Jacqueline Perry, in the back country of Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park, North of Chapleau, Ontario in 2005, events for which Mark later received the Star of Courage award from Governor General Michaëlle Jean.[1][2][3] Theatrical release was scheduled for August 14, 2015.[4]

Plot[edit]

Alex (Jeff Roop) and Jenn (Missy Peregrym) decide to take a weekend camping trip. They arrive at the visitor center and are greeted by the park ranger (Nicholas Campbell), who warns them about late season remoteness, and upsets Alex after warning him that the trail the latter wanted to take is closed. Alex refuses to take a map and ignores the warnings, confident that he knows the park well because he has visited multiple times. After a canoe hike, Alex injures his foot flipping the canoe. Alex also pokes fun at Jenn, a rookie hiker, who he thinks has overpacked by bringing bear spray and a road flare. On their first night, they encounter and have dinner with a more seasoned hiker and tour guide, Brad, whose presence annoys Alex; Brad provokes Alex by implying he'd be more of a man to take Jenn into a closed trail, where a scenic waterfall and lake are. Though Alex and Jenn initially planned on not hiking far, Alex decides to lead her off-trail deeper into the park to the lake. As they hike, he spots a bear paw print, but does not tell Jenn, and the two later encounter a mauled, devoured deer, which worries Jenn.

The two finally make it to where Alex believes the lake is, only to realize that they are lost, with no lake in sight. Alex reveals that he had taken Jenn's cell phone and left it in the car (concerned that it would distract her), that he has no map, and his experience in the area is far less impressive than he claimed; he admits that he has not hiked the area in many years and has not been confident in his surroundings for hours. Jenn lashes out at him, reminding him that she never wanted the trip and calling him a loser desperate to impress her. He admits that he wanted to come to the lake to propose to her. Jenn later apologizes, and the two make up as they make camp and fix Alex's foot, unwittingly attracting predators due to Alex's blood. Alex asks her if she wants to see the ring, but she declines. The couple is later startled by an odd noise from the nearby blackened woods, prompting Alex to yell and scare the animal away. In the pre-dawn hours, the pair sleep unaware as a black bear approaches and sniffs their tent. Later that morning, they find that all of their food has been eaten and destroyed.

Not only lost, with no means of communication, food, or water, matters are made worse when they spot a bear bed. Realizing the danger literally at their tent door, they try to hike as far as possible before dark, and then camp for the night. However, the bear catches up to them the next morning and attacks them in their tent. Jenn is clawed on the arm and Alex, in trying to protect her, has his leg nearly torn off. Though Jenn briefly wards it off with her bear spray, it returns and drags Alex out of the tent. Alex screams for Jenn to run as the bear is eating him alive. Jenn flees, taking only Alex's ring with her.

Now without food or shelter, Jenn sleeps in a tree and wakes up to the sound of a helicopter overhead, but fails to get its attention. Stalked again by the bear, Jenn manages to escape it by climbing down the waterfall, but slips and breaks her leg. Using a makeshift splint, she limps through the park at night, using her road flare as a guide. After collapsing against a tree, spirits broken and suffering from her wounds, she wakes to see a deer grazing in front of her, motivating her to continue. Miraculously, she makes it back to their canoe. Paddling back to the lodge, she collapses on the beach in sight of Brad, who is leading a tour, and he races over to her.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting began in October 2013 with Missy Peregrym, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell and Jeff Roop being named for the script.[5] The movie was filmed in Powassan, Ontario as well as Caddy Lake, Manitoba.

Release[edit]

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2014.[6] D Films acquired 25% of the film's ownership and the Canadian distribution rights while Uwe Boll's Event Film Distribution bought another 25% ownership and the non-Canadian distribution rights, the latter of which they then sold to independent distributors. Event Film sold the US distribution rights to IFC Midnight after a bidding war with Orion Pictures, Blumhouse Tilt, and Open Road Films.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Backcountry received moderate to positive reviews. It currently holds an 88%, "Certified Fresh", rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 42 reviews, with the critical consensus stating "Tense, well-acted, and at once atmospheric as well as brutally impactful."[7] It has a 62% rating on Metacritic based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Black bear kills woman camper north of Chapleau, Ont".
  2. ^ Nemiroff, Perri. "Writer-Director Adam MacDonald Talks BACKCOUNTRY, the True Story, Shooting with Real Bears, Editing Gory Scenes and More at TIFF". Collider. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Governor General honours 15 Canadians for bravery".
  4. ^ "Backcountry". Tribute.ca. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Barton, Steve (October 17, 2013). "Haven's Eric Balfour Heads to Backcountry". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  6. ^ Condit, Jon (September 7, 2014). "TIFF 2014: Stills, Artwork, and Screening Details for Backcountry". Dreadscentral.com. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "Backcountry". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  8. ^ "Backcountry". Metacritic. Retrieved May 15, 2017.

External links[edit]