Review: ‘The Grey’

The Grey is a solid survivalist adventure, and it’s good Liam Neeson badass. Not bad Liam Neeson badass like Unknown which was so stupid I can’t believe everyone gave it a pass.

He’s got a very specific set of skills again as a working class oil rig worker in Alaska. When his plane crashes on the way home, he’s smart enough to lie down on the seat and use all three seat belts, and he only gets more Boy Scout-y from there. He guides the remaining survivors to pillage the wreckage for supplies and make their way south, while pursued by a pack of wolves. It’s a horizontal Cliffhanger, without any terrorists, only the elements, but you get me.

Wolf attacks are just shaky close-ups, so that’s disappointing, but the wolf pack becomes a threatening character just for its off-screen implications. The tone of their howls is like dialogue at the survivors. There is a good balance of fake scares and real jumps.

Of course you’ve got your infighting. Neeson’s threat to prevent the survivors from looting the dead is awesome. I like the survival aspect the best of all, using the supplies from the plane and survival skills in nature. Of course someone makes a MacGyver reference in the film but that’s accurate.

It’s not entirely unpredictable. In fact, it’s far more predictable than it thinks it is with our hero mourning a lost lover, and one-dimensional character archetypes like the D-bag A-hole or the delirious older man. I mean, Dermot Mulroney wears glasses. What do you think his survival downfall is going to be? There was one aspect of the final reveal that surprised me, and maybe you won’t be trying as hard to read into things. Amazingly, every twist of every Saw movie got me. You’d think by part VI I’d catch on, but no. Yet Hollywood movies are still transparent.

So it’s a simple genre story but it’s a solid one. You want to see these types of movies done well. It may help to see it at 8AM after an all nighter on a total adrenaline high, so if you can manage that, that’s my recommendation.