Backcountry (film)

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Backcountry Poster.jpg
Directed byAdam MacDonald
Produced byThomas Michael
Written byAdam MacDonald
StarringMissy Peregrym
Jeff Roop
Eric Balfour
Nicholas Campbell
Music byFrères Lumières
CinematographyChristian Bielz
Edited byDev Singh
Distributed byIFC Midnight
Release date
  • September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08) (TIFF)
  • March 20, 2015 (2015-03-20) (United States)
  • August 14, 2015 (2015-08-14) (Canada)
Running time
92 minutes

Backcountry is a 2014 Canadian naturesurvival horror film, written and directed by Adam MacDonald. It is loosely based on the true story of a man-eating bear and 30-year-olds Mark Jordan and Jacqueline Perry, in the back country of Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park, North of Chapleau, Ontario in 2005, events for which Mark later received the Star of Courage award from Governor General Michaëlle Jean.[1][2][3] Theatrical release was scheduled for August 14, 2015.[4]


Alex (Jeff Roop) and Jenn (Missy Peregrym) are shown driving from the city towards the country in their SUV. Jenn is seen constantly on her blackberry phone, which Alex doesn't like. They arrive at the visitor center and are greeted by the park ranger (Nicholas Campbell), who warns them about trail closures and late season remoteness. Alex refuses to take a map and excuses himself, confident that he knows the park well because he has visited multiple times. Before heading out in a canoe, Alex takes Jenn's cell phone and puts it in the car without her knowing because he's sure she'll be on it the whole time. After a canoe hike, Alex stubbs his big toe while flipping the canoe. As they hike, he spots a bear paw print, but does not tell Jenn. He plans to lead her to a lake which he claims is deep inside the park. They believe they have finally reached it, and climb to the top of the peak. However, when they summit, they see no lake, only miles of forest. At this point it becomes clear that they are lost, with no map and no cell phone. Jenn is infuriated and yells at Alex, calling him a loser amongst other things and demanding to know why he insisted on leading her so deep into the woods. He responds that he planned to propose.

The two make camp, and Alex fixes his broken toenail, unknowingly creating the scent of blood in the immediate area. Jenn apologizes for her outburst, and Alex passive-aggressively tells Jenn that, if that's how she really feels about him, he's dumping her. The couple are startled by an odd noise from the nearby blackened woods, prompting Alex to yell and scare the animal away. In the pre-dawn hours, the pair sleep unaware as a black bear approaches and sniffs their tent. Later that morning, they find that all of their food has been eaten and destroyed.

Not only lost, with no means of communication, but now with no food, matters are made worse when they spot a bear bed. Realizing the danger literally at their tent door, they try to hike as far as possible before dark, and then camp for the night. Come morning, danger catches up with them: Alex unzips the tent to find a black bear barely 50 yards from them. The bear charges straight into the tent as Alex screams for Jenn to run. He is severely mauled before the bear drags him out and starts to eat him alive.

Seeing Alex beneath the bear, his body ripped open, Jenn finds herself fleeing for her life. When she spots the bear stalking her, she attempts to climb down a waterfall, only to slip and break her leg in the process. Improvising a makeshift splint, she stumbles through the woods until, miraculously, she reaches their canoe. Despite her pain and exhaustion, Jenn manages to paddle back to the lodge, where she is rescued.



Casting began in October 2013 with Missy Peregrym, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell and Jeff Roop being named for the script.[5] The movie was filmed in Powassan, Ontario as well as Caddy Lake, Manitoba.


The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2014.[6] D Films acquired 25% of the film's ownership and the Canadian distribution rights while Uwe Boll's Event Film Distribution bought another 25% ownership and the non-Canadian distribution rights, the latter of which they then sold to independent distributors. Event Film sold the US distribution rights to IFC Midnight after a bidding war with Orion Pictures, Blumhouse Tilt, and Open Road Films.[citation needed]


Backcountry received moderate to positive reviews. It currently holds an 88%, "Certified Fresh", rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 42 reviews, with the critical consensus stating "Tense, well-acted, and at once atmospheric as well as brutally impactful."[7] It has a 62% rating on Metacritic based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[8]


  1. ^ "Black bear kills woman camper north of Chapleau, Ont".
  2. ^ Nemiroff, Perri. "Writer-Director Adam MacDonald Talks BACKCOUNTRY, the True Story, Shooting with Real Bears, Editing Gory Scenes and More at TIFF". Collider. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Governor General honours 15 Canadians for bravery".
  4. ^ "Backcountry". Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Barton, Steve (October 17, 2013). "Haven's Eric Balfour Heads to Backcountry". Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  6. ^ Condit, Jon (September 7, 2014). "TIFF 2014: Stills, Artwork, and Screening Details for Backcountry". Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "Backcountry". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  8. ^ "Backcountry". Metacritic. Retrieved May 15, 2017.

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