Monday, September 26, 2011

'Grizzly Park' should be closed due to weak script

Grizzly Park (2008)
Starring: Glenn Morshower, Emily Foxler, Randy Wayne, Sherlock Anderson III, Jelynn Rodriguez, Julie Skon, Kavan Reece, Trevor Peterson, Zolay Hanao, and Jeff Watson
Director: Tom Skull
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Eight juvenile delinquents are sent into the wild back country of Grizzly Park together with Ranger Bob (Morshower) on a week long expedition to pick up trash as court-ordered community service. But killers are at large in the woods... wolves, bears, and an escaped homicidal maniac (Watson). Will any of the teens, who for the most part are literally too dumb to live, escape to engage in criminal activities again?

The most damaging thing to this film isn't its predictability--if I wasn't expecting a movie with teenagers being stupid in the forest and getting killed in the process, I wouldn't have bothered with "Grizzly Park" in the first place--it's that this is possibly one of the laziest scripts I've ever encountered.

It's not bad, just lazy. The characters for the most part are so underdeveloped that even the broad strokes used to establish them as stereotypes being enough to make the viewer invest even the slightest attachment in them. The entire movie is also driven by Stupid Character Syndrome, with even extras being infected with it--like one of the kids being able to "sneak" a massive bear costume onto the excursion, despite the fact that the DoC and sheriff department staff would have checked their bags before leaving on the trip... and Ranger Bob would have checked everyone's bags before taking them to the park's interior. But he doesn't, because he would find the bear costume. And possible weapons. And junk food that might attract wild animals. He pays lip service to checking, checks one bag, and then promptly forgets to check the rest.

And what Stupid Character Syndrome can't accommodate, gaping logic or practicality holes will take care of. That aforementioned bear costume? The mask alone is larger than the pack pack the character supposedly smuggling it is carrying. And that's just the most obvious and annoying of the several such "well, this won't work, but fuck it... it's staying it!" elements; the film is full of them.

There's also a bizarre case of short term memory loss apparently afflicting many of the characters, which makes me wonder if the film went through some re-edits and new scenes were shot after completion and no one was paying close enough attention anymore. There are a handful of instances of this scattered throughout the movie. The most glaring takes place when the viewer is informed (by way of a character reading a plaque out loud) that Grizzly Park is so named because it was once home to the largest bear population in that part of the nation but that the bears were hunted to extinction long ago... but two scenes later, Ranger Bob is cautioning the kids about bears in the park telling them and what to do and what not to do. Yet, no one asks him why he thinks there are bears in the park when the historical marker stated they were all gone. Bob discussed that wolves had been restocked but did not mention anything about bears, yet everyone just goes with it.

Finally, there are a couple of underdeveloped subplots in the film, such as one revolving around two of the juvenile delinquents and a gang war between White and Mexican racial supremacists, and the one involving the escaped maniac mentioned in the teaser summary at the top. While the way that last one terminated was unexpected, it served so little purpose in the overall story that dumping it would have changed nothing... except perhaps freed up a little time for some character development. Perhaps that would have been enough to make "Grizzly Park" worth the effort of putting it in the DVD player.

"Grizzly Park" is available as a stand-alone DVD, or in "Horror 4 Pack Vol. 2", which crams four movies onto a single DVD. If this film sounds interesting to you, then you will want to get the "Horror 4 Pack", because it costs about the same (or less, if you go to a certain retailer with big stores and low prices, whom I won't mention because I wouldn't send my worst enemy there I dislike the experience of going to thost stores so much) but you get three other movies. The drawback is that only one of those is any better than "Grizzly Park".

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