Today's movie, Grizzly Park, s like a hybrid love-child mix of Final Destination-style death scenes with one of those "animal attack" movies that pop up on SyFy every so often. It features a serial killer, a rogue grizzly bear, and a group of inner-city teens trapped in a national park. It'll either be brilliantly insane, or just the usual stupid insane. SPOILERS ahead, campers...
Okay, so we start out with a credit sequence that references a Bible story about a bear that was summoned to eat a large group of children. Um, sure. The little pseudo-animated storyboard is pretty funny, at least. That's followed by a scene depicting an elderly park ranger watching the morning news in his office. There's a story about a blazing forest fire, followed by a report about Butch Latham, a convicted murderer who managed to escape from prison. Foreshadowing?
A-yup. In the very next scene, we see Butch murder a county officer who had to change a flat tire. Before he meets his demise, the poor guy tells Butch that he's on his way to pick up some troubled teens for a camping trip to the park. They don't show his face, but I have a feeling that Butch will be the hulking dude with blood all over his clothes. Yeah, I'm psychic that way.
Then we see the old man again. His name is Howard(which is probably an in-joke, as he's an older actor by the name of Rance Howard), and he greets a younger employee named Michael. After they have a quick chat, we see the killer try to remove the massive amount of blood from the uniform he stole off of his victim. Then he finds a knife in the van, along with the list of teens he's going to pick up, and a detailed map.
Then we see the various teens arriving for their big adventure, and the film gives us this awesomely goofy song about an encounter with a bear. The song alone earns this movie a tree. As the song winds down, we see Howard and Michael going over some paperwork, while the overhead television replays the report about the manhunt.
The song resumes, and the teens are loaded into the van. Their mugshots are shown onscreen, but not their names. Gee, thanks. Why are these movies always designed to be this obtuse? Would it kill the writers to let us get to know the characters in one of these movies?
Anyway, they arrive at the spot where they'll begin the hike, and meet up with a couple of late arrivals, as well as the leader of their expedition, Ranger Bob. A serious-looking preppie named Ryan tries to shake hands with a teen Neo-Nazi type, and they end up awkwardly holding hands instead. Pretty funny.
Ranger Michael takes a role-call, and we finally meet the rest of the characters. We've already met uptight Ryan; then there's Ty, the lonely black guy; Lola, the token Latina female; Candy, a spoiled rich girl; Kiki, the token Asian girl; Bebe, a cute willowy girl who seems like a complete ditz; Scab, the aforementioned racist; and Trickster, a hacker with a major attitude.
After the initial introductions, Ranger Bob comes out to address the troops, and explain the rules of camping. First rule of camping, don't talk about fight cl--uhhhh, I mean, no swearing. Second rule: Pack appropriate clothing and gear.
During his lecture, Ranger Bob suddenly notices that the driver has a shirt covered in a mysterious red stain. He explains that his shirt got dirty while he was changing a tire, and no one thinks to mention that tires don't usually bleed out. Ranger Bob just frowns and suggests that he should change his shirt. Oh, and the killer changes his name to Jerry, which is a foolproof way to fool everyone.
While Ranger Michael is helping crazy Jerry change his shirt, Ranger Bob starts to give a lesson on the various animals they could encounter during the trip. Bears, wolves, coyotes, skunks, and moose are just some of the wild animals waiting to eat them alive. Ranger Bob promises them that, in the event that a person is left behind by the group, he will not search for them.
Finally, the hike begins! Ranger Bob confuses Bebe right off the bat, because Bob is his last name, and his explanation is pretty complex for her to follow. During the name thing, she forgets what her original question was. Oh well.
Howard leaves the park early, and that gives Jerry an opportunity to be alone with Michael. He gets some information about the park from the young man, then stabs him in the gut. As blood starts to trickle out of Michael's mouth, Jerry kicks him onto the ground.
The hikers come to a narrow bridge, and stop to admire the view. Then we see the killer hide Michael's body in a shed, stopping only to wipe the blood from his knife on the already-messy shirt. Why is he so attached to that one shirt? Just change it!
Ranger Bob has the group take another break in a picnic area. This gives our killer some time to catch up, and we see him in a vehicle, rushing to meet up with his next targets. Oh, and the teen boys in the camping group make a bet over whether or not Bebe's ample bosoms are real or fake. Real or fake, I'd say tit's up for debate...*rim shot*
Bebe needs to go off to do some "female business", so Ranger Bob advises her on how to dispose of a tampon in the woods, without attracting animals to the scent of blood. Trickster starts to follow her, but the park ranger stops him. Then we get a cute scene with Ty and Kiki. They're both listening to music on different devices, and they exchange ear buds with each other. Like I said, it's cute.
After doing her thing, Bebe sees a little woodland creature, and decides to feed and pet it. Despite my begging and pleading, the unseen creature doesn't gnaw her hand off at the wrist. Dammit! When are they going to design a movie that lets the audience decide how to torment the cast?
Candy is admonished when Ranger Bob sees that she brought a phone with her, then Ty shows him, via a GPS device, a route to the camping area that would take less time to travel. Ranger Bob disagrees, citing the shortcut as a place where wolves tend to migrate. Then, as we see the killer's vehicle racing through the woods, the campers encounter a skunk. It turns out that the skunk was the creature that Bebe met, mistaking it for some kind of "forest cat", in spite of the big, skunky white stripe.
Kiki screams, the skunk panics, and the entire group is sprayed by the skunk. Then Ranger Bob calls Jerry, who has just arrived at the eventual campsite. He assures the ranger that the camping gear has been dropped off, then he starts to drive away.
And now, at long last, we have The Most Important Scene in the entire movie, the scene where all of the teens strip down to their underwear, then stand around in some water, splashing and frolicking. While Ranger Bob prepares a warm fire in a nearby cabin, Bebe steps inside to see if he needs any assistance.
Meanwhile, our serial killer has been driving around the park. He also stops at a cabin, where he hides out to plan his next move. By the time he's ready again, it's nightfall, and we see that a presence is watching him from the forest.
Jerry senses the stalker watching him, and decides to ignore him/it. He unloads the jeep, then hurries inside. I don't know why, but I love it in horror movies when the main threat is also threatened. It's fun to watch villains squirm.
The teens all warm up around the fire and enjoy themselves, until Ranger Bob announces that they'll have to wear their stinky clothes again when they're dry. Scab, uncomfortable about having to sit between a Latino and a black guy, announces that he needs to "drain the dragon", leading Bebe to exclaim that she can't believe that he has a dragon.
A fake spider is used to try to scare Ranger Bob, but he just calmly observes that it's about the same size as the ones that lurk up in the trees outside. Then he sends the campers off to the tents, which are divided by gender. Ranger Bob tries to radio Jerry again, but Jerry's getting pretty loopy now. He smashes the radio into pieces, then stomps around in a tirade.
The killer gets back out of the cabin, and decides that it would be best to just leave. A bear stops him, though, so Jerry decides to whip out his trusty knife, and take the beast out. The bear, completely unfazed by the weapon, retaliates by chomping Jerry's face right off of his skull. Sweet!
Early the next morning, Ranger Bob has the campers collecting bags of litter. Candy spies Ty talking on his own phone, and manipulates it out of his hands. Ty, ever the resourceful dude, plans to show off by using his GPS route to beat the others to their destination. He shows the path to Kiki, and they head in that direction together.
No one even seems to notice that they're gone. Ty and Kiki use the time to get to know one another, and we learn what they did that landed them in trouble with the law. Kiki poisoned her mother, while Ty stole anything he could get his hands on, while working with the elderly. They both brag about how stupid other people are compared to them, and agree that they should scam old folks together. Oh, and Ty's GPS sucks ass, because they don't end up beating the group to the campsite.
When Ranger Bob steps into the cabin where he was supposed to meet Jerry, he finds the wrecked radio equipment. That's when he also finally realizes that he's misplaced a pair of teenagers. Maybe Ranger Bob should start looking for another job...
When they realize that the GPS was wrong, Ty and Kiki start to get nervous. Things go from bad to worse, when Ty steps into a snare, which pulls him up off the ground and injures both of his ankles. Kiki rushes over to the spot where he dropped his stuff, and searches the ground for the phone. She picks up the GPS device instead(Remember, Candy stole his phone earlier, by never returning it...), and it screams at her to GO BACK...GO BACK...GO BACK...
They yell and scream for help, then we return to the main group again. Candy is talking to Ryan, and the conversation mostly consists of them mocking others in the group. They both share a good laugh, until they hear Lola doing the same thing to them. Chagrined, they move off in different directions.
Ranger Bob heads into the boys' cabin, where he hands them a sheet of paper. It contains a list of items that he needs to confiscate, under the pretense that they would attract bears. The items on the list include things like deodorant and cologne, and none of the teens will admit to having any of the items on the list. Ranger Bob gets annoyed with them, and warns them that if a bear attacks, it will be their own fault.
Kiki sees blood, and realizes that Ty may be very badly injured by the snare. She and Ty spot a wolf nearby, and Kiki worries that the scent of the blood might put them in danger. She decides to run away, and an animal attacks her off-screen, as Ty swings around helplessly, wondering what finally got her.
Ranger Bob makes a campfire that night, and suggests that it might be a good idea to discuss their court cases as a group. Candy goes first, revealing that she was making money as a high-priced prostitute. Then Ryan steps up to the plate, revealing that he was caught having sex with a minor, and that they were both involved in an asphyxiation act. That act directly caused the girl to lapse into a coma, and Ryan's family paid her family off to keep quiet about the crime.
Disgusted, Ranger Bob calls the powwow session to an abrupt end. Then we see a hungry wolf as it discovers Ty hanging in the air. He tries to scare it away by being loud, but it doesn't seem scared by him. Then, when the wolf does run off, Ty realizes it was due to the sudden presence of the massive grizzly bear. Buh-bye, Ty!
The girls talk about the boys as they prepare to go to bed, and the boys do pretty much the same. Then, Trickster reveals that he brought a bear costume along on the hike, which he's going to use to scare the girls and/or Ranger Bob. Oh, and I think we might have broken Scab, as he's been developing confused feelings for Lola. The guy's so inept, he can't even do racism right!
Ranger Bob works all night on fixing the radio, but can't get anyone to reply to him on it. Then he wakes up the campers at sunrise, except for Scab and Bebe, who sleep despite the annoying sound of his whistle. After breakfast, he announces that he wants the group to remain together, while he hikes around in an attempt to locate Ty and Kiki.
While the park ranger is finding a sort-of trail of human remains to follow, Scab is busy huffing gasoline fumes to get high. Lola finds him, and they end up kissing. After a second kiss, Lola leaves him alone again. Is this movie allergic to sex?
Ranger Bob finds the trail that the missing teens explored, and begins to retrace their steps. When he doesn't return that night, the rest of the group make another fire, and go through Ranger Bob's cabin for food, alcohol and supplies.
Another encounter session around the fire reveals that Scab has a very bad addiction to inhalants, and that one of his closest friends died from inhaling cooking spray. Bebe also reveals that she was falsely accused of shoplifting, although she claims that it was a friend who had secretly shoved something intro her purse, and that she was framed.
Trickster tries to lighten the mood by making another reference to draining his dragon, but Bebe proudly declares that she knows that there is no actual dragon. You go, girl! As Trickster heads into the cabin, he hears something moving around in the woods near him, but can't tell what it might be.
Ranger Bob finds part of Kiki's face on the ground, and knows that he's on the right trail. As he picks up the pace, Trickster emerges from the cabin in his bear costume. Then Ranger Bob finds what's left of Ty, and spots the wolf sitting nearby, snacking on another piece of Ty. That's the thing...Eating Ty food always makes you crave MORE Ty food! *rim shot*
Scab has found a place where he can huff gas fumes alone. He remains blissfully unaware of another presence until it's right in front of him, and the fumes have made him incredibly loopy. He mistakenly believes that the killer grizzly bear is just Trickster in a costume, and tries to pet him. Too late, he realizes his mistake.
Speaking of Trickster, he's heading toward the campers in his costume, and he tries to scare them with a roar. They all laugh, which just makes Trickster angry. He roars again, and sees them express actual fear. Too late to react, he realizes that the real bear is right behind him. With one massive paw, the grizzly decapitates Trickster.
The others scream, then take off and hide in one of the storage cabins. Bebe, Candy and Ryan get away, but Lola is dragged to her doom by the angry bear. We briefly see her trying to crawl to safety after that, but the lower half of her body is now obliterated.
Bebe starts to cry, and the bear starts to sniff at the walls of the structure. When the noises stop, Ryan grabs a heavy shovel, and opens a board in the wall to have a look. He announces that the bear is gone, turns back for a second look, and the grizzly then drags Ryan through the gap in the wood to devour him.
Ryan, badly mangled and with part of his scalp falling off, drags himself back through the opening for one last attempt at survival. He manages to give one of Bebe's boobs a squeeze, a bell dings, then he gets dragged away to get mauled again, with such force that his arms are severed from the rest of him. He'll take the secret of the breasts to his grave.
While they huddle together in the dark, Bebe and Candy begin to wonder how much time has passed. Candy picks up Ryan's arm, then steals his gold watch. The bear then smashes more wood out of the opening that Ryan had made, and attempts to snatch up both females at once. Bebe opens the door of the shack to escape, then locks Candy inside for the bear to have. As Candy screams, the scene fades to black...
The next morning, Ranger Bob returns to the campsite. He finds Bebe hiding under a table and gives her a hug. After she calms down and packs her bag, she asks the ranger if she can use his bathroom one more time before they leave. He agrees, then waits for her on the porch.
As soon as Ranger Bob leaves, Bebe drops the whole "nice girl" act. She goes through Candy's bag, stealing most of her stuff, then grabs the cell phone. Calling a friend, Bebe brags about being the only survivor, and even manipulating the ranger. When she talks about killing Ranger Bob with the gun she found, he overhears her. She walks outside, where the bear greets her with a swipe of the paw, and we see a bloody lump of silicone come flying out of her chest, and smack into a tree. The debate is over!
A news story tells us that the killings were blamed on the escaped convict, because Ranger Bob placed the bear costume in a place where it would look like he had worn it. In the final scene, Ranger Bob and the bear appear, promising to return in a year. THE END...?
Yeah, probably, since this was made back in 2007. Still, I have to give this movie credit where credit's due...the effects were impressive, there were 3 killers(4, if you include the wolf!), and the script kept me laughing. On purpose, even! I actually wouldn't mind seeing another movie with Ranger Bob as the antagonist. Including the extra point for the song, I'm giving Grizzly Park 4 killer trees outta 5! Ha!
And what did I learn after watching the movie?
-Love conquers all, even racism...but not huffing.
-National Parks are deadly places.
-Bears and wolves work well together!
Next up is either Asylum of the Damned, or Deepstar Six. And I promise to post it this week...I would have posted this yesterday, but I fell asleep during the Pats game(I've been getting up at around 4 in the morning the last several weeks...it caught up to me!). Sorry!!