WRITERS: Screenplay by Harvey Flaxman and David Sheldon
DIRECTOR: William Gridler
STARRING: Christopher George as Kelly
Andrew Prine as Don
Richard Jaekel as Scott
Joan McCall as Allison
Joe Dorsey as Kittridge
QUICK CUT: Campers spend the weekend in the woods getting closer to nature.
Kelly - The cheif ranger at the national park. A man of duty and integrity.
Scott - A local naturalist, close associate with Kelly, and worked with him to move the bears to higher ground. No one knows the forest better than him.
Don - A helicopter pilot that frequently helps out the rangers. A good man, with a troubled past.
Allison - A photographer and daughter of the man who owns the local lodge. She’s really just there to get exposited towards.
Kittridge - The park supervisor, a man on the rise, and stubborn to a fault. The only thing important to him, is himself.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! I've got a treat for y'all for the rest of September. I've decided to do two back to back animal attack movies. No real reason, just a sudden whim, and a desire to finally watch THIS week's movie, Grizzly! Because I will continue to go my entire life talking about every Jaws movie that is not actually Jaws. Or maybe, just maybe, this is entirely deliberate to coincide with a new movie about people in the woods being hunted by something…
The movie kicks things off with some gorgeous shots of the mountains of Georgia, and helicopter pilot Don talking about the beauty and how it needs to be preserved. There are worse ways to kill time with the credits than with beautiful fall foliage and mountains.
We meet Ranger Kelly and his team, planning to keep things running smoothly this weekend, but they're stretched thin. Still, they'll do the best they can until the bear shows up.
The movie also introduces us to Allison, the daughter of the man who runs the main lodge, and is up there taking photographs of the changing seasons.
But now that we've got most of the main cast out of the way, it's time to meet some canon fodder as they mill about the woods setting up their campsite.
One of the rangers checks in on them, and they assure him they'll check in before they leave, before it gets dark.
But they will get no such chance as Grizzly finally walks into the party. One of the girls heads off into the woods, and faster than you can wonder if a bear shits in the forest, Grizzly appears in the campsite and kills her friend.
The other girl beats feet through the forest and finds a small cabin to hide out in, but Grizzly is too smart for that, smashes through the wall, and has a second victim already.
But the best part is, as we fade to another scene, the girl's scream hilariously echos through the mountains.
The ranger notices the girls have not shown up yet, so grabs Kelly to go check things out and make sure they're okay. Allison tags along for funsies.
Kelly checks out the shack, finds the wall torn apart, and the girl's body falls down from above. This gives me a number of questions, but whatever.
Darkness falls and everyone starts searching the nearby area for the other girl. The search comes up empty until Allison trips over something and lands in the girl's stomach.
While Kelly talks to the doctor and they try to figure out what a bear was doing where it wasn't supposed to be, the park supervisor Kittridge shows up to chew out Kelly. He gives him some warnings that there will be consequences for this screw up.
Kelly starts trying to reach his associate who helped relocate the bears to the high country last year, a local nature expert, Arthur Scott. And he's such a naturalist, he has all his clothes off...wait, wrong kind. He's just out hiding in the woods making friends with the deer.
Scott is furious when the call comes through from Kelly on his radio and the sound scares off his deer friends. But he calms down and is curious once he hears the situation.
The hunt goes on, and a pair of rangers decide to split up, which is always the best idea! The woman says she's going to go soak her feet in the stream, but instead strips off her clothes and plays in the waterfall
Which would be all well and good, until Grizzly comes around and does his thing. Can you imagine being found nearly naked, your clothes neatly folded, so everyone knows what you, a park ranger, were doing?
Kelly heads up in the chopper with Don to try and find the bear. He thinks he sees something, and goes rushing off to shoot the sucker and see what's what...but the bear is actually Scott lurking underneath furs trying to find Grizzly.
Scott gives them some exposition that it's not one of their bears, not a normal bear but a grizzly, and even then, it's special because it's extra huge. Let's face it, Scott is basically Quint. Squint.
The trio pile back into the chopper, and get back to the base camp to figure out their next move and hopefully give us a few more victims.
While they're off doing whatever, we focus on a happy couple about to have some fun in their tent, but Grizzly shows up to have other plans!
There's more yelling at the gang from Kittridge to take care of this, but he's not willing to commit more resources to it, because it will blow things out of proportion, and he does not believe the stories of monster prehistoric grizzlies.
Before this pause in any action can take hold, we cut to a hunter poking around the forest, hoping to become famous by nabbing the bear, but the hunter becomes the prey pretty quick. He just barely manages to get away by jumping into the river.
Things escalate from this, Kelly goes back in the woods, and Allison wants to join in, but not being a trained ranger, Kelly is reluctant.
Meanwhile, a bear is stalking some campers, and just when you think they're about to be eaten, awwww, it's just a cub! So they decide to use it as bait. Because THAT can't go wrong. And it goes unexpectedly when Grizzly eats the bear cub. Ah ha ha.
The Rescue Rangers show up, and they know the bear should circle back, so decide to split up to try and box it in and direct it somewhere.
Squint sits around and says he wants to capture this rare specimen, and another hunter tells him a story about some grizzlers that got the taste of manflesh. And for a supposed bear expert, Squint seems strangely fascinated by this tale, and surprising he's never heard of it before.
Meanwhile, a ranger is hanging out at a watchtower, to try and get above the trees to see what he can see. But unfortunately for him, he can't see the bear for the trees in the way. And Grizzly shows up to knock over the watchtower.
There's some more beauricratic nonsense with Kittridge, but it's a solid scene with some great acting as Kelly and the supervisor face off. And all over not wanting to close down the beach for the holiday weekend.
While Squint and Kelly yammer about what to do next, we cut to a mom and her kid playing in the yard. Gee, whatever could happen to them?
Grizzly comes along, gives the kid a hug, and the momma comes out to protect her cub. So she gets killed pretty quick.
This is finally the thing that Kittridge needed to close down the park though, and get rid of the press, so Kelly can finally do his job.
Kelly and Don arm up the chopper with enough ordinance to make the Punisher jealous, and Squint is busy running through the trees with his own plan.
The men in the chopter kill a deer to use as bait and draw Grizzly out, then lay in wait while the bear mills about in the forest.
But Grizzly is smarter than your average bear, and when he hears the shotgun cock, he bolts. Our heroes give chase, literally going over the river and through the woods.
The bear being A FREAKIN' BEAR outruns them easily, and the pair head back to the chopper. And they discover Grizzly circled back and took their bait.
Meanwhile, Squint is out in the woods, runs into Kelly's deer, and has a plan to tie a rope around the carcass and drag it through the forest to lure the bear out. Because THAT surely will end well.
The plan works a little TOO well as the bear shows up, and BEHEADS SQUINT'S HORSE, claiming the naturalist as his next meal.
Squint actually manages to survive that, and wakes up in his own shallow grave. Unfortunately, Grizzly is nearby, doesn't like when his food sits up, and finishes him off for good.
Don and Kelly find their friend's body, radio in the coordinates so he can be retreived and dealt with properly. On their flight back, they see the bear. Being in a chopper, they have a good chance at actually giving chase.
They touch down and give chase, since Grizzly is worn out from its busy day, and actually have a confrontation with it. Which is good because the movie is almost over.
Grizzly trashes the helicopter, Don distracts it with a few shots, a little too well. The bear closes in, and Kelly tries to get its attention by shooting the bear himself.
This doesn't work, the bear closes in, and gives Don a big ol' hug, killing yet another person. Also, as Grizzly closes in, they even use the Jaws zoom.
We wrap things up with Kelly grabbing a ROCKET LAUNCHER from their arsenal, and using THAT to shoot the bear.
And I will end this with a gif of an exploding bear. You’re welcome.
Video: It looks pretty good, for something from the 70s. Pretty sharp, with the expected amount of grain.
Audio: Pretty decent sound.
Sound Bite: "A grizzly is an animal, Kelly. Don't give it human qualities."
Body Count: Not gonna lie, Grizzly does a decent job here.
1 - 12 minutes in, and the first girl gets beard.
2 - Julie gets mauled inside a cabin.
3 - Bear gets a female ranger who thought she'd go skinny dipping.
4 - Random woman gets yanked out of her tent and bashed between trees.
5 - Ranger gets killed when the bear knocks over the watchtower.
6 - Little kid gets mauled
7 - And then his mother
8 - Squint gets his face removed
9 - Don gets bear hugged
10 - Grizzly gets exploded.
Best Corpse: I get a good laugh from the random woman who gets bashed between the trees.
Sex Appeal: A few bear breasts here and there.
Drink Up! Every time you start thinking about Jaws.
Video Nasties: A short clip from the bear chasing the hunter through the woods.
Movie Review: I make a lot of jokes about this riffing on Jaws, and I want to be clear - I do not believe this movie ripped anything off. But the coincidences are many, and fun to spot. That said, the plot is a simple one, but the movie is overall well made, with solid performances from the leads. The scenery is gorgeous, and the movie is very nice for the 70s. I am very much NOT a fan of animal attack movies, but I still recognise this is a well made piece of cinema and a fine story. It’s pretty much exactly what I would want from this sort of movie. Four out of five rockets
Entertainment Value: There’s some fun bits here. The kills are good, and there’s no real BAD acting to laugh at, but the story is enthralling, with only a few sluggish spots that lag. The wrap up is a bit quick, but I forgive a lot for BRINGING A ROCKET LAUNCHER TO A BEAR FIGHT. Three out of five bear cubs.
But that explosion alone almost - ALMOST - brings it up to a four.