Because climate change hadn’t screwed us enough already: “Unnatural”

October 25, 2015


Pretty much anyone who’s not a Republican has come to face the reality that global climate change is upon us. Weather patterns are disrupted, droughts are ravaging several continents, and whole eco-systems are crashing. Assuming that you don’t attribute this to either A) perfectly normal circumstances or B) God’s wrath at us for electing Obama, then it’s time to admit Al Gore may have had a point with that slideshow Of course, this turn of events confronts humanity with a score of very complicated problems: a dwindling global food supply, climate-based migration destabilizing the globe, and—possibly most dire—mutated killer polar bears. Yeah, those are a thing in the case of the B-movie Unnatural.

Unnatural begins in a remote Alaska lab, where biologist Hannah Lindval is noticing some weird results from their experiments with some polar bears. Seems their attempts to make them hardier and more resistant to climate-change has turned one particular bear into a rampaging monster. Well, that’s not good, but before she can do anything about it the bear gets loose and kills everyone in the lab (which seems more like a when thing than an if thing).

Uh, guys maybe you should start with the seals first...

Uh, guys maybe you should start with the seals first…

Meanwhile, someplace in unspecified Alaska, hunter and guide Martin Nakos (James Remar) welcomes a fashion photographer named Brooking (Ron Carlson) and his crew to the remote mountain cabin Nakos shares with his, uh, daughter I guess, Lily (Q’orianka Kilcher). The crew consists of a couple models (Allegra Carpenter and Ivana Korab) and his assistant DeLana (Stephanie Hodes).

You're gonna need a bigger gun, dude.

You’re gonna need a bigger gun, dude.

These big-city folk are almost ludicrously terrible, with Brooking taking top douchebag honors by continually referring to the Native Alaskans as “Eskimos” and generally displaying about the same level sensitivity as that “Nanook of the North” documentary. The models, for their part just sulk and complain about the lack of Wifi. This movie isn’t a very good advertisement for models, the fashion industry or humanity in general.

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with them for too long, as the polar interrupts of a bikini shoot to chomp down one of the models. This movie doesn’t really ratchet up the tension so much as just lob it into your lap. Well, everyone holes up in the cabin, where, a few kills later, it becomes clear this is no ordinary polar bear.

Well that didn't go as planned...

Well that didn’t go as planned…

During one of his forays outside the cabin, Nakis finds a half-frozen Hannah, who he brings back to the cabin to recover. Once she’s up and talking again, she promptly lies through her teeth and is all like, “Yeah, big polar bear. Damndest thing.” Well, from here the movie basically becomes Ten Little Indians only with a giant, mutant polar bear (which is, if I understand correctly, faithful to the early drafts of Agatha Christie’s novel).

Make no mistake, Unnatural is a very, very bad movie. Director Hank Braxtan gets a lot of mileage out of his stunning location and his seasoned actors (Remar and Kilcher are excellent together), but the story is so lazily-constructed that it doesn’t matter. The characters are all disposable polar bear-chow, anyway.

Pocahontas ain't taking no crap.

Pocahontas ain’t taking no crap.

So if you’re not putting any work into the story or the characters, the polar bear must be pretty damn impressive, right? Well, not so much. Most of the time its scenes are shot with such a shaking, frenetic camera it impossible to see anything. The few times we do see it with some clarity it looks like—I kid you not—a St. Bernard in a polar bear costume. I kind of hope that’s what they used. At least some part of this movie would be interesting.

Well, this part was interesting.

Well, this part was interesting.

In the end, I guess we’re supposed to see the evil corporation as the villain of the movie, despite the fact they’re just trying to help nature survive the warming climate. I guess humble, salt-of-the-earth Martin and Lily are our ostensible heroes, but given how casually they’re dispatched, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, either. I’m really not 100% where this movie’s sympathies lie.

Bottom line, I guess, is that climate change just sucks on every level.

One comment

  1. This looks pretty weird.

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