Based on true events, Adam Macdonald's Backcountry tells the story of Alex and Jenn, a young, urban couple who decides to go camping in the Canadian wilderness where Alex grew up. Being the seasoned outdoorsman, Alex spent a lot of time convincing his girlfriend Jenn, a corporate lawyer, to go on the trip, with Jenn being far from someone who is comfortable in the wilderness. Heading out into Provincial Park, on the secluded Blackfoot Trail, Jenn's worst fears slowly become a reality, as Alex and Jenn find themselves lost in the wilderness, being stalked by a territorial black bear. Adam Macdonald's Backcountry is a serviceable survival horror film that manages to keep the viewers engaged thanks to its relatively strong characterizations, specifically in a genre in which they are severely lacking. At its heart, Backcountry feels more like a relationship drama than horror film, with much of the film's running time centered around Alex and Jenn's strained relationship. Shot in a way that exudes a sense of unseen danger, Backcountry is a film that slowly escalates, slowly ramping up the tension until the absolutely terrifying bear attack that happens well over an hour into the film's running time. While this approach may test the patience of some viewers, Backcountry delivers in spades once the bear attack and subsequent chaos ensues, with the time the film spent fleshing out its characters only making the film more engaging. The last twenty minutes of Backcountry are electric, horrific, and riveting, tapping into a primal state of fear and survival necessary for films of this ilk to be successful. While Adam Macdonald's Backcountry is far from anything revolutionary, the film is a nice reminder of how simplicity is sometimes the best approach in crafting a survival horror film.
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