The Grey: A Movie Review

It’s 11 PM on Friday night and I just got back from watching The Grey at the movie theater.  I’ve been excited to see this movie for a few months.

Here are the movie details:

Plot Outline In The Grey, Liam Neeson leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries and merciless weather, the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements – and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt – before their time runs out.
Starring Liam Neeson
Directed By Joe Carnahan
Written By Based on the Short Ghost Story “Ghost Walker” by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
Screenplay By Joe Carnahan & Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
Produced By Jules Daly, Joe Carnahan, Ridley Scott, Mickey Liddell

Let me put it this way.  If you want to see The Grey because you like Liam Neeson, then you are going to love this movie.  He (and the rest of the cast) do an awesome job.  It didn’t quite satisfy my expectations for ‘survival scenes’ but I really liked the movie concept – it was a similar concept as the movie The Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin.  However, I have to say – I liked The Edge better.  The idea of having to self-rescue while being chased by man-eating wolves is a pretty crazy thought.  Combine that with a freezing arctic tundra environment and this is pretty much a worse-case-scenario survival situation.

From a survival standpoint, it has everything you would expect to see in a movie based on a plane crash in the arctic bush but nothing all that new and surprising.  I like seeing more than what you would normally expect.  I wanted to see some new and creative survival weapons/shelters/tools/tricks/ – even if they were fake movie props.  At least show me a cool knife, a wicked trap, a machete or some make-shift weapon from a plane part or something!  The final scene does have some mini-liquor bottle glass knuckles but that scene lasts a whole 5 seconds.  I was hoping to see the damage they could do to the big bad wolf but no such luck.  There is also a scene with some make-shift boom-sticks (I don’t want to give too much away) that I rather enjoyed.  Anything that has to do with improvised survival weapons gets a THUMBS UP in my book – whether it is real or not.

 

The characters in this movie slept several nights in sub-zero degree weather in the open wind with virtually no shelter.  I have to admit…that drove me a little crazy.  I kept saying to myself – “There is no way they could survive that cold!”  I know…I know… it’s a movie, but it was still hard for me to get past.

I tried and tried to get a good look at the knife Liam was using but couldn’t ID it.  It looked like a Seal Pup but I’m not sure.  If anyone else has any insight into this, please post in the comments.

I liked the movie – don’t get me wrong.  However, I wanted to REALLY like this movie.  I give the acting 5 stars and the survival content 3 stars.  I’ve posted the trailer below if you haven’t seen it yet.

Oh, and for anyone out there who isn’t a fan of vulgar language, this movie has it’s fair share.  However, if I was being chased by a lion sized wolf with green eyes who I had seen eat a few of my buddies I might drop the F-Bomb a few times too.

SURVIVAL LESSONS from THE GREY:

  • Pack a Survival Kit in your checked baggage just in case the plane goes down and you find your luggage
  • Keep a Survival Kit in your VEHICLE
  • Before you leave your crashed plane or broken down vehicle be sure to strip as many available resources as possible – chair covers or headliners for shelter canopies or bed rolls, fuel and oil for making fire, water?, food?, anything that can be fashioned into a make-shift weapon, electrical wire for cordage, containers, etc…
  • Take some general FIRST AID classes BEFORE you need them
  • Leave some kind of note or sign at the crash site that tells potential first responders where you’ve gone
  • Keep your fire building materials and tools in a WATERPROOF container or bag – Just In Case
  • Learn how to skin, gut, process and prepare wild game over an open fire
  • Learn some basic COLD WEATHER sheltering techniques

I will be adding this movie to the Willow Haven movie collection once it is available on DVD.

Have you seen this movie yet?  What are your thoughts?

Creek

PS- Though it doesn’t give much more insight into what happened, there is a final scene AFTER all of the credits so you might as well wait for it if you’ve watched the movie.

Comments

  1. Yellow lab dog Scout perked up when the wolves started howling in the trailer.. I think she’s ready to go see it. But she gets wound up in movies featuring her “dog brothers”, so we will have to wait til the dvd comes out . Looking forward to it – Thanks for the heads up on it – No really _ I have turned off 95% of the MSM so I tend to miss notice about movies when they first come out..

  2. Just watched the Grey this weekend. More was done wrong regarding survival than was done right. The decision to leave the plane was the beginning of the end for the entire party. Staying with the plane would have enabled them to have shelter, fuel for a fire, food, and a means to fashion weapons, using the wreckage from the plane. Basically this movie is a what not to do if you survive a plane crash in arctic conditions and are being hunted by wolves.

    • REAL Survivalist says:

      Not true. At most, they would have had maybe a weeks worth of food and shelter, and fire prep for the 7 that survived. And thats rationing off the small amounts of food that was on board.
      And since this movie also involved WOLVES, (that were in this case HUNTING the survivors), It made perfect sense to pack up, head south And follow the direction of the river. Sitting in -20 degrees is not smart there Micah. Not at all.

      Finding the woods, increased there chances for survival. At the worst, the bark has calories, more food around the forest, better material, blockage from the wind, etc. That is there all the time.

      Metal would freeze them from the inside out. You obviously havent been in high elevated areas, nor have ANY outdoor expirence at all.

      Please refrain from commenting again.

      Live and DIE on this day. Not curl up in a ball and hope for rescue. That was the motto.

      • Woah guy, chill out there. There’s no need to get hostile here, we all read the Willow Haven website to learn, not to get berated. People can have differences of opinion, in training, whatever. Why not try helping someone out instead of being abusive, huh?

      • Right on Goodman. We read, we watch, we learn. Always a way to improve after trial and error.No room for harsh critism.

      • All it would have taken would be about 3-4 days with the plane.

        ps I live in the arctic.

      • The Facts says:

        Real Survivalist, take it from an expert… You are wrong. Building up snow around plane would have protected the men from much of the cold, as well as the wolves. As mentioned above, there would have been several supplies as well. They could have created crude weapons to protect themselves and possibly killed wolves while around their camp… Providing food and decreasing the size of the pack. The reality is that there was also human flesh there for sustinance as well.
        When they do ultimately decide to head South, they should have logically chose an optimal day… Leaving in the morning on a sunny day, with little wind. Heading into the woods on a stormy afternoon/evening was ridiculous.
        There are countless other illogical decisions and this movie ignored far too much logic to be categorized as a survival movie.

  3. I felt the same about the movie. Acting was great, survival lacking, but the thing that really got me was the wolves. Would’ve loved to have seen a bit more wolf action and close ups. They used computer generated wolves also. I understand that it’s almost impossible now to have real animals in movies because of certain foundations, but even a wolf hybrid substitute would’ve been great.

    I also REALLY wanted to love this movie, but now that I saw it I just kinda somewhat enjoyed it.

  4. GoneWithTheWind says:

    It was a “dark” story, very depressing. I do think there was a good chance useful tools and supplies were left behind. I also believe that walking to the wooded area was their best bet but clearly trying to walk out was not. There were options for fire and shelter that they did not consider. Walking out in those conditions guarantees that as each person reaches their physical limtis that they die either from exposure or accident.

  5. Jeff in Minnesota says:

    “The Grey” is to wolves as “King Kong” is to apes. Just a movie.

  6. Micah is right. As the movie shows, the only hope of survival is to survive until you are rescued. The best chance of rescue is staying with the plane. You can go a week without eating. Shelter in the plane would be much easier to defend. A cardinal tenet of survival theory is not to abandon the ship.
    In my head, numerous things were not accurate. The scenes in the water were what really got me–no way you are able to climb out of that freezing cold water and survive more that a half hour sopping wet in below freezing temps. Humans are not that strong, hypothermia gets you really quickly. I think drowning/freezing probably beats being eaten alive by wolves anyway.

  7. I was wondering whether others felt as I did. Basically I feel that the decision to leave the plane was necessary to drive the plot narrative forward, and nothing else. It stripped the group of resources and intensified the dramatic elements. It would have been a boring movie otherwise, with the survivors fashioning a barricade to allow them to hole up in the fuselage, using jet fuel to have nearly unlimited heat (and melting snow for water) and signal fires, eating bits from the snack cart until they fashioned some dead fall traps for the wolves, then feasting on wolf. I’m no survivalist but lasting a week in those conditions (vs. the alterative) does not stretch the imagination. And giving rescuers a week to track along the flight path does not seem to be outrageous. However, people do make horrible decisions under stress, so perhaps we just enjoy the movie in that vein.

    I also agree with Martha that the scenario where the two went into the stream would have been an ender. Hey, it’s a made up story. I just know what I would not do. Running out in the open with a pack of wolves after me is just not among the options I would consider viable! Here’s hoping none of us find ourselves in these straights…!

  8. Duncan Sutherland says:

    Hello, this is my first posting here. I was instantly turned off by the trailer for The Grey. The movie seemed to pander to the lowest common denominator of man’s fear and misunderstanding of nature. It appeared excessively sensationalistic in it’s depiction of wolves. That species has had a hard enough time being demonized by the ill informed of various cultures for hundreds if not thousands of years. Just as the movie Jaws did more to the misunderstanding and fear of the great white shark, movies like this create a false idea about an animal’s true nature. There has never been a recorded killing of a man by a wolf in North America’s history.

  9. Cory10/22 says:

    Waitin’ on the cable tv release. Looks like pure entertainment to me, I appreciate the reviews so I could save the cash.

  10. Finally picked this video up at the library and am so glad I did not spend a cent on it.!

    I could only stand to watch 30 minutes of it ..

    The dumbest movie I ever saw – really.. Not even good entertainment value. Just one frustrating minute after another and constant stupidity on display with the f-bomb in every other word.. The behavior of the wolves was so inaccurately portrayed it was silly. Really everything was silly. The idiotic nature of nearly every scene made the attempts at serious scenes seem disparate. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of survival or wilderness skills will likely get frustrated watching this.

  11. Robbie Roberson says:

    The knife used in this movie was the SOG SEAL Revolver knife . You can see the lock hole in the blade in several shots especially near the end when he tapes it to his hand.

  12. The Gimp says:

    Frustrating show, but I watched the whole thing, hoping that someone sooner or later got some instinctive cave-man inspiration.

    The survivors in this show had access to , fuel, various metals from the plane, a forest, meat and resources (sinew, leather, bones, teeth) from frozen corpses and wolves, running water in a river. Winter clothing, knives. With Liams characters alleged professional wolf-expertise, WHY could they not outsmart some canines with all these resources?

    What would Ray Mears have done? He would have constructed a log cabin and a fireplace with a well stocked larder in a couple of weeks. Made weapons, spears, bow & arrows, traps, tree platforms for safety and ambush until there were no more danger and urgency from predators.

    “Bear Grylls” would definately have killed himself jumping across any cliffs or whitewater rivers, or tried to run down some sheer cliff breaking both his legs and arms in the process.

    MacGyver would have built a jet back-pack and a radiostation from the wreckage, and flown to the nearest town… Heheh…

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Creek's new survival fiction novel, RUGOSA, now available on Amazon.com!