But considering what it got away with on such a low budget, Grizzly is interesting.
Among the more positive notes, the general idea behind Grizzly is a scary one because being trapped in the woods with a massive hungry killer bear nearby would be a scary as hell situation, and at times I thought certain thrills were conveyed to a decent extent, but could have been better if better actors were hired to play the victims.
Plus, for the standards of low budget Jaws rip offs, this one is one of the better ones as it deviates away from the concept of horror in the ocean and attempts to draw it into the theme of a killer bear which it succeeds to on a half-decent extent of a B-movie scale.
Also, lead actor Christopher George gave a surprisingly good performance as the hunter who mirrors Roy Scheider's role in Jaws, and although there is no possibility that he could reach the same legacy, he does well in terms of capturing the charisma of a determined forest ranger, and he had good chemistry with Joan McCall who was also good, so Grizzly had a decent lead cast.
Lastly, the musical score was good and many of the tracking shots were of good quality and brought out the beauty of the forest that Grizzly was filmed in very nicely.
But Grizzly isn't believable and can't standalone without its legacy as a Jaw knock off
And half the time it's obvious that the producers are using a toy helicopter in shots because the sound effects crew didn't bother to match them up with the actual sound effect that would be heard as a real helicopter passed, and it commonly looks too small without appearing too distant to be convincing.
And it's clear that the editing crew had little to work with because the same several shots of the bear are used again and again, and the only things they could use in the death scenes that were covered up under the water like in Jaws were false bear arms and claws, as well as pretend body parts to have slashed from the victims, and it becomes repetitive fast and not convincing, then again embracing that the bear is slashing parts off people is part of the intended stupid fun in Grizzly. I don't really think I felt it though, and really that's the main problem.
So Grizzlt tried hard and had the best intentions, but there's only so long you can sit through the same repetitive footage of a bear attempting to be pulled of as a massive killer Grizzly. But you'd expect that from the standards set.
The dialogue in this thing could only have been written in the late 70s. It is a mixture of pure stupidity, misogynist tripe, and simpleton plot driving gibberish. My theory is that every one in the 70s was either so coked up or could not hear over the crunching of the lead based paint chips to really pay attention to what they were saying to each other.
Aside from that, film scores suffered from a similar malaise. If they were not rock opera disco jams, then they were the banjo picking symphonic equivalent of wall to wall shag carpeting. Rarely did the music enhance the mood or theme of the action, most of the time it was just loud and full of crumbs. GRIZZLY is no exception. In fact, the foot chases where man goes after bear are meant to capture the light hearted whimsy of similar scenes in JAWS, where the boat bounces along in full hunter fisherman glee.
What does this movie do right? Brutality. A lot of people die. Most of them main characters. In fact, aside from the park ranger who decides to strip to her underwear to put her feet in the creek, most of the victims have actual lines of dialogue. Still see above about that significance. A horse is decapitated, humans are dismembered (including a KID!) and at least one lady is pinponged against some trees while her whole hippy camp friends watch. The effects are good only that they are quick and the camera does not let the audience focus on the cheapness of them.
Overall, Good Movie.