Grizzly (1976)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Natural Horror  |   Release Date - May 16, 1976 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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This energetic but clumsy horror effort is too contrived and poorly realized to be worthwhile for most viewers. A key sticking point is Harvey Flaxman and David Sheldon's script, which directly copies Jaws both in terms of characterization (the three bear hunters are a public servant, a naturalist, and macho hunter just like the shark hunters in Jaws) and specific scenes (a girl is attacked while skinny dipping, a corrupt official wants to silence the scandal, and the macho hunter gives a gruesome speech about a legendary massacre related to the title creature -- all scenes that appeared in Jaws). Unlike its model, however, the script runs into a long dull stretch between the initial bear attacks and the finale. William Girdler's direction establishes a surprisingly slick look despite the film's low budget, but handles the key suspense set pieces by going overboard on cheap gore and using silly, cliched tactics like shaky point-of-view camerawork (complete with ridiculous "heavy breathing" bear sounds). On the plus side, the three leads give performances that rise above the material: Christopher George is sympathetic as the beleaguered Kelly; Richard Jaeckel is fitfully intense as Scott; and Andrew Prine brings an amusingly tongue-in-cheek sense of machismo to the role of Stober. However, they can't rise above the secondhand, uninspired quality and Grizzly is best left to horror completists as a result.