Most Anticipated: The Grey

58. The Grey (R) - Runtime: 117 minutes
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney
Director: Joe Carnahan

Although technically not part of my 50 most anticipated movies this year, The Grey did take a spot in the runners-up circle when the trailer debuted. Of course I wanted to see Neeson kicking some wolf ass, who doesn't? But at the same time, really? The whole movie is them just trying to survive? How is this going to work for almost two hours? Thankfully the movie isn't boring - it's basically a tale of survival (Remember Hatchet? That young adult book where the kid survives a plane crash and only has his hatchet to survive the Canadian wilderness. I kept thinking about that book when I saw this movie. Nowadays you'd be lucky to get a Swiss Army Knife on board a plane, especially one that's heading to Canada - those anti-violence peaceniks.). It's also like a horror film - one by one the survivors slowly get picked off and chewed up by the wolves.

The movie does start off fairly slow but once the plane crashes and they have to trudge through the Alaskan wilderness - this is when the movie shines. There's a great amount of tension and truly scary moments when you can see the wolves surrounding their camp. Joe Carnahan does a great job invoking not only the wild nature of the woods but also the menace of the wolves and they are a character themselves - plodding along in the background, waiting for the right time to strike.

But the movie isn't all about this tale of survival - there's also a great deal of personal stories from the men who are trying to survive. Obviously Liam Neeson's character is the main focal point, but each guy gets his due. There's a great reveal near the end that makes you go "Aha!" and a lot of Neeson's actions suddenly make sense. It's a really good story about man who hasn't found closure in his life and one could find his trek through the wilderness as an allegory for the afterlife.

No joke - this is a profoundly deeper movie than the trailer would let you to believe. I've had many customers who were upset and baffled at the ending of the movie - but in my opinion that's the best part. SPOILER ALERT - the movie ends with the last shot in the trailer of Neeson getting ready to fight the wolf with his fists covered in broken bottles. And it cuts away before you get a chance to actually see the fight - leaving things ambiguous as to who wins (even the after credits scene is vague). But honestly, I love that it left it off there - you get to decide what the outcome is and I really can't imagine the fight scene living up to what I've imagined in my head. END OF SPOILERS.

So yeah, if you dig horror movies or tales of survival, you'll definitely dig this one. But it's not just a cheap suspenseful movie - there's plenty of layers to peal back and examine. It's a heavy movie, no doubt and one that you can't just watch in the background! I highly recommend checking this one out!

Rating: Rent It!

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