Backcountry is a good example how one simple premise can still be thrilling with clever production and a few grisly scenes. Using scenery and only minimum amount of characters, it succeeds on creating the sense of isolation and overwhelming helplessness. The movie doesn’t venture to cheap scare territory and while it can be slow at times, its modest nature delivers what it sets out to do.
Jenn (Missy Peregrym) and Alex (Jeff Roop) go into a camping trip. The weekend is meant for a romantic escapade to see a beautiful lake, unfortunately they lose their way in the thick forest. The concept is simple, it has been done before, but Backcountry does it with smart approach by keeping the focus on the confused couple and develop their personalities. Both the lead actors deliver convincing performance.
They look like an ordinary couple, complete with their own issues and occasional bickering. It makes it easier for audience to invest on their survival. When the danger comes and they find out the trip isn’t going well, the reactions are believable without being overbearing or resorting to excessive screaming and blaming even though some poor decisions have been made.
The movie keeps the flow without distraction, in this case the less is better as build up for the encounter with the threat is silently ominous. Practical effect and makeup do wonder at creating the deterioration of battered man and woman. Relying on only two characters alone could be risky, the film doesn’t veer off from its original path, although the pace does stumble on halfway point. Granted, the investment on the couple might take a while.
Backcountry provides a survival tale in its natural form. It may not be fancy, but it stays on it course to deliver a decent thriller.
Review by quincytheodore