This little film took me by surprise, and managed to be quite gripping from the start. It begins with an atmosphere that strikes a perfect blend of survival thriller and American gothic, while slowly ratcheting up the tension. The plot is simple, but quite unique, and the acting is very good. Devon Sawa has always been an underrated actor, and he steals the screen here, playing a grizzled character that is quite uncommon for him, but doing so in instantly believable fashion. Meanwhile, Camille Sullivan is equally good as his wife, and displays a wide range of talent. It's easy to predict that the film won't be a simple survivalist thriller, and that the plot about a wolf terrorizing this naturalist family won't be the main focal point, and the film shifts gears towards the middle of it's runtime. The twists are introduced quite ingeniously, and the film manages to sustain an intense atmosphere throughout most of the runtime. But it's towards the end that things begin to fall apart.
There were so many directions in which to take this story, but things collapse into predictability, and the easier it becomes to guess what's coming next, the more plot holes line up. I have the feeling that the filmmakers were more interested in framing the entire story around the gruesome effects shot they end the film with, and it's a brutal, somewhat unexpected ending. But in order for the film to close in this manner, the characters have to make some monumentally stupid choices, which are all the more unbelievable because the film has been trying to convince the audience of their adept survival skills. As I said, there were plenty of other directions for the story to take, many of them potentially more thrilling than what we end up with. In fact, the ending is so out of character with the rest of the film, that it almost feels like two halves. I for one, was far more interested in the suspenseful, quiet horror of the first half, than the brutality of the denouement. Still, there's plenty worth seeing here. Great acting, tactful direction, plenty of tension, and despite my reservations, the ending is certainly memorable. I just can't help but feel that it could've been more. But what is, certainly isn't bad.
My Rating: 6/10
My Rating: 6/10