11 April 2010
The Canyon 2009 (SPOILERS) - REVIEW
Director: Richard Harrah
Writer: Steve Allrich
Tagline: Surviving is just the beginning.
I have to say, before watching this movie I made the mistake of reading several different reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has it rated at 27% positive feedback and the reviews by different critics are rather harsh. So, of course I went into it with the pre-conceived notion that the movie would be terribly disappointing. I was fully prepared to face up to the fact that I'd wasted 102 minutes watching when I could've been catching up on some much needed beauty sleep. BUT, once again I find myself in complete disagreement with the majority.
Newlyweds Nick (Eion Bailey) and Lori (Yvonne Strahovski) decide to spend their honeymoon mule packing through the Grand Canyon. Upon arrival, they discover they don't have the proper permits to take the tour and it looks like the honeymoon is over before it even started. At least until they meet up with Good Ole Henry (Will Patton) who proceeds to tell them that he'd have no problems obtaining the permits they need. After a not so heated argument, Lori gives in and off they go.
But, after leading them far off the beaten path, Henry falls prey to a snake bite that ultimately leads to his death leaving the two of them to fend for themselves. As they become progressively lost, tensions get higher and higher until they peak into a mild shouting match full of finger pointing and blame.
Things go from bad to worse when Nick suggests they should climb out saying it's just like the wall he climbs at the gym. When Lori decides to check her cell service in mid-climb, they fall and Nick's leg not only breaks but becomes jammed between two rocks. Cue the super ouchy amputation.
With Nick injured to a point where moving him is out of the question, Lori decides to make a fire and stay put. That is until the hungry, cranky wolves show up. She spends a full night and half a day fighting off the wolves even killing two or three.
Other critics said the movie was predictable from almost the very beginning. I, apparently, am a little slow because if I hadn't read about what was coming, I wouldn't have seen it. Lori builds a sort of stretcher and tries to drag Nick out but doesn't realize a whole pack of wolves has been tracking the scent of his blood the whole time. Completely surrounded by wolves, she decides the only thing to do is put an end to his suffering by smothering him. It's never clear if her intentions are to leave him for wolf kibble and make a run for it or if she planned on dying with him. In any case, turns out it wasn't even necessary to kill him because the rescue helicopter comes less than a minute after the deed is done and scares the wolves away.
Yes, there are some inconsistencies and yes the script is a bit weak with quite a bit of corny, cliched dialogue but strong performances by the actors do a lot to carry this film. The soundtrack is decent and somewhat haunting which mixed with the cinematography almost gives the movie a life of it's own.
All in all, I thought it was well paced with plenty of "uh oh" moments. It's not completely unbelievable that something like this could actually happen I mean wasn't 'Open Water' based on a true story? Don't people slip in and out of common sense mode all the time? So, why is it so hard to believe that people cut corners to get what they want, or get bitten by rattle snakes, or get lost in the Grand Canyon for that matter? And, I'm sure if I was a starving wolf, a good looking yuppie couple would be damn appetizing to me. In the end, I would definitely recommend this film to others.
Click here for trailer