Weak swipe at na­ture- kills story

Los Angeles Times - - MOVIES - — Robert Abele

The mak­ers of the bear rampage movie “Into the Griz­zly Maze” couldn’t have an­nounced their inf lu­ences more clearly if they’d named their movie “Claws”: a small town ter­ror­ized, con­cerned cit­i­zens ( James Mars­den’s ex- con prodi­gal son, Thomas Jane’s eco- friendly deputy sher­iff ) torn over how best to com­bat a crea­ture’s wrath, and a feared, ques­tion­ably sane Quint- like hunter ( crazy- eyed Billy Bob Thorn­ton, en­joy­ing ev­ery silly threat he ut­ters).

The el­e­ments are there for an old- fash­ioned an­i­mal-as-se­rial- killer romp, just re­gret­tably given a for­mu­laic telling and poorly as­sem­bled by di­rec­tor David Hackl (“Saw V”) to re­sem­ble a rushed TV movie. Though it was filmed in beau­ti­ful Bri­tish Columbia, the ac­tors are pho­tographed so closely as their char­ac­ters brave an ur­sine men­ace’s stomp­ing grounds that it could have been shot on sound­stages.

The griz­zly at­tacks, mean­while, are hap­haz­ardly shot and edited in the cur­rent vogue for chaos over clar­ity, a far cry from the art­ful yet bru­tal im­me­di­acy of the bear vi­o­lence in the na­ture- kills in­die “Back­coun­try” from this year. Here, rarely do you sense that any key per­former was ever in the vicin­ity of a real an­i­mal. You’d be more likely to be­lieve Patty Duke had an iden­ti­cal cousin. “Into the Griz­zly Maze.” MPAA rat­ing: R for vi­o­lence, grisly im­ages, lan­guage, brief sex­u­al­ity and nu­dity. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 29 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle’s Mu­sic Hall 3, Bev­erly Hills.

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