Backcountry - Riveting, an Attention Grabbing Thriller

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Backcountry, from IFC Midnight and Fella Films, presents the perfect outdoor, man verses the nature, horror film a combination of terror, sheer fright, paralyzing fear and gritty determined display of survival instinct and will power.

Directed and written by Adam MacDonald, Backcountry stars Missy Peregrym as Jenn, Eric Balfour as Brad, Jeff Roop as Alex and Nicholas Campbell as the Ranger.

Backcountry begins in the underground parking garage as Jenn is sending one more email off before the grand couples back to nature weekend. She not thrilled that the call of nature has infected her lover. As she does believe she loves him she goes along on the off the grid weekend.

Alex, played by Jeff Roop, is invincible. Having convinced his corporate lawyer girlfriend to ditch the comforts of home and rough it in the woods of his childhood and high school years. The memories of those summer nights, when the stars where brightest and responsibility was showing up for class the next day have left an indelible impression and now as he is embarking on a new season in life he is determined to show Jenn what he considers one of the most awesome wonders of his memories.

The two city hikers, outfitted with weekend warrior gear, are ready to take on the any challenges nature may present.

Alex is in his element, he is Superman to Jenn's, Lois Lane. She has the higher paying job Monday through Friday and he is emasculated by her dominance, here in the woods, he is king and nothing is going to stop him from reveling in her fright, concern, and just general discomfort.

Making sure he has final and absolute say, without dependence on any technology, he without her knowledge takes the phone out of her backpack and leaves it in the car.

A rough Neanderthal, Brad, played by Eric Balfour, a woodsman who explains he is a survivalist guide, shows up on night one baiting Alex with his superiority and knowledge of the workings of wilderness and of course showing Jenn who is more capable. When he leaves the two believe he is the worst that they could come across.

As the film progresses we finally get a glimpse of the horror and terror that awaits as a Black Bear, signs of which Alex had seen, a paw print, a deer gutted, disemboweled, small trees snapped, the predator was defiantly nearby, and ignored for at least two days.

All trails lead to the scene, like in the iconic JAWS, Backcountry finally gives the audience the full size scope. Not the growling, nose pressing against the tent, chilling night before when the Black Bear was near enough to rip them both from the tent but the full view.

The mauling scene, even as one knows it's coming, and from the posters its apparent the girl survives so the audience knows and still when the bear rushes the tent, growling with a full roar, and seeing the attempts to break loose from its teeth, it is stunning in its depiction.

The mauling scene one would think would be enough. Backcountry continues as Jenn survives the deadly encounter with a small bite. The audience is given enough of the mauling to understand bears, more common than a 25 foot Great White, takes hold in a full secure strengthened, flesh torn from flesh, ripping apart bites. The human is a steak to bears, even the bear repellent works enough to anger him so he charges back with an intensity that is seriously frightening.

Backcountry is directed and constructed really to incrementally build into the terrifying thriller it becomes. The suspense becomes so heightened that like Jenn the audience believes at every turn, twig break, every whisper in the wind, it is the boogey man or animal coming to devourer.

A Few Minutes with the Director

Having the chance to participate in an impromptu Question and Answer, MacDonald, who seems like a regular guy, happy and a bit taken aback at the reviews and feedback as Backcountry is being compared across all media to Steven Spielberg's JAWS, explained a little about the making of what is sure to become a legend.

He also explained "real bears" were used and "we had the bears for two days" of the 15 day shoot. The bears are kept "on set" wrangled inside the "hot zone" basically a three wire electrical fence surrounding the "set."

He described the three year process of waiting on the grants all the while living, breathing and focusing on this terrifying film.

MacDonald also explained when he decided on this project he went out and bought a can of bear repellent, and "it is the same one used in the film and for three years he looked at the can of repellent for inspiration."

Researching and hearing the stories of Black Bears who without provocation become the predator was another aspect of the research as Backcountry is based on a true story it is in effect a compilation of true stories, some with seriously different endings. It is not, however, exaggerated or fictionalized.

The bear actors were taught to growl and enter the tent and the interaction with the bears and the tents are real. The mauling, of course, was special effects. The scenes are graphic and hold your attention.

Backcountry is engrossing! A tense, suspenseful, riveting trip into the horrors of what can happen and the sheer determination of survival.

Adam MacDonald has created a cinematic masterpiece.  See this film!

Backcountry opens in select cities March 20 and everywhere soon after.  Check Local Listings!

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