Published: 26 January, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
The Company Of Wolves, the 1984 film of the Angela Carter story, freaked me out when I was a kid.
The dinner scene where human jaws suddenly extend into salivating snouts, and arms and hands become legs and paws – for all its silliness, it gave me some serious nightmares.
The Grey draws on a long history of such films.
The use of wolves as a scary creature to hunt us down has long roots in literature and is regularly revisited.
Starring Liam Neeson, the story is straightforward: he leads a team of oil riggers who find themselves feeling very small in a very big white space.
This gang of toughies are in a plane crash.
As they struggle to wobble their way back to civilisation, they find themselves the prey for a pack of ravenous creatures who have marked their territory and don’t like the humans getting too comfortable.
It is silly and formulaic, but has saving graces.
The plane crash is impressive and there is a spooky ensemble of snow and wind and darkness, coupled with plenty of salivating wolves for company.
This film achieves drama and action with a sense of grandeur and aplomb in its boo scenes, but overall unpicks itself by starting off with some good, atmospheric scares before tailing off with too many characterisations.
I wanted to watch the Ice Road Truckers get eaten.
By the time we get to know the characters, you don’t really care – you want to see Liam Neeson wallop a CGI wolf on the snout.
Neeson is pretty brilliant as the gruff rigger in bizarre circumstances, a saving grace to an ultimately silly, but fun flick.