What’s It About: Dr. Robert Verne is a newly appointed EPA representative sent to Maine to write a report on a paper mill. Accompanying him is his cellist wife, Maggie (Talia Shire) who is still keeping her pregnancy secret from her husband because he is reluctant to be a father. The loggers are in a land dispute with the local Native American tribes led by John Hawks played by Italian-American, Armand Assante and a great axe vs. chainsaw fight happens when the director of the mill is escorting the Verne’s to their cabin in the woods. Axe and Indians lose. Meanwhile, the paper mill suspect the Native Americans are kidnapping or killing other loggers/mill workers but we later find out its a mutated bear who kills anything it comes across, especially innocent campers!
The Verne’s suspect that the mill is somehow polluting the area’s lakes and they realize that its mercury is contaminating the water when they find a tadpole the size of a basketball. Later on they find a baby mutant (possibly bear—they honestly don’t know either) and save it from death to prove their point to the mill and its director who strongly denies any wrong-doing or polluting. The director comes with a police force to arrest Hawks on suspicion of murder but realizes his fault when Verne shows him the mutant animal. Now they are in the fight of their lives when the huge mutant bear attacks them. Also Maggie is worried that her unborn baby will be mutated since they dined on freshly caught salmon from the mercury-laced lake.
Is It Actually Scary: Al Gore must’ve been really frightened of this film. Basically this film is an environmental message movie with a monster in it to further drive its message home. The monster is bear-like but has no skin and supposedly has the features of bear, fish and mountain cat but we really never see the creature close enough to see any evidence of those features. It’s always roaring whenever it’s on screen so if feral wild and angry animals growling at you makes you jump then this flick will make you white.
Scariest Moment: There’s a scene that is simultaneously scary and silly at the same time. It’s not worth describing but rather showing you the clip of the camper in the sleeping bag being attacked by the mutant bear.
How Much Gore: When the monster is being fought by Verne with a single arrow and he stabs the monster’s eye there’s much blood. But other than that scene this is a bloodless flick.
Dumbest Moment: Surprisingly not the camper exploding in the sleeping bag scene. No I would call the fight between Verne and the creature the dumbest scene. This mutated bear is virtually invincible in every scene he’s in, killing anything and everything with one swipe of his mutated paw and even ripping about the Verne’s cabin. But when Verne attacks him with one arrow the monster grabs Verne to pick him up bringing Verne closer to his eye-level. Then Verne stabs the monster in the eye with the arrow practically killing him instantly. As the creature falls down and writhes in pain, Verne proceeds to still stab the creature even though it looks, to me, like it’s dead.
Any Nudity: The creature is the only thing “bear-naked.”
Overall: I just kept laughing remembering that South Park episode that spoofed this film with Al Gore called ManBearPig. Although not a stinker this film could’ve been better. I’m mostly looking at you, Robert Foxworth (Robert Verne)! He was not a great actor in this film and his very angry doctor turned EPA agent was over-dramatic. His post killing slaughter of the monster was completely out of character for someone who was supposed to be very sympathetic and passionate about helping people. The title doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and is way too preachy if the meaning is that if we don’t stop polluting then thousands of mutant monsters are going to attack the human race. While I agree that we should be greener in our thinking I just don’t think a monster movie will achieve that end result, especially one where Armand Assante plays a Native American.Score: 6 (out of 10)