Bear with Us offers a take on the cabin-in-the-woods genre but it does so as a dark comedy.
Directed by William J. Stribling from a screenplay that was co-written with Russ Nickel, Bear with Us stars Christy Carlson Romano, Mark Sullivan, Alex McKenna, Cheyanne Jackson, Collin Smith, Lea Delaria, with Curtiss Cook and Alice Ripley.
How far would you go to preserve a relationship? This is the question that Stribling and Nickel have decided to explore in Bear with Us. They take us on a wild ride.
Colin Dense (Sullivan) is a neurotic romantic so he decides to propose to his girlfriend, Quincy Adams (Romano), in the same building located on the lot in which they had their first date. The original building burned down so they will have to make due with this for now. Unfortunate for Colin, Quincy turns him down as she believes he doesn’t understand her flaws.
Six months later, Colin is at it again and this time he’s going to put together a romantic second proposal only he’s going to base it off of Quincy’s fear of bears. He was about to get this flaw out of her but it’s just one of many lies in the horror comedy. After picking up two other friends, this is where we find ourselves in the worst possible situation of any film ever: the cabin in the woods. Nothing ever goes right in a cabin in the woods since people will almost always end up dead.
To pull of this second attempt at a proposal, Colin recruits Harry (Smith), his best friend, to tag along. In hindsight, bringing Harry along for the ride isn’t really a good idea. Colin’s plan is to have Harry dress up in a costume when he proposes to Quincy. Again: horrible idea.
Quincy is still living with Colin even after she turned him down. Not feeling the love has left her to pursue other people like her physical therapist at the gym. So for her, this getaway to the woods is nothing more than one final hanging out before calling it quits. To make sure Colin understands, Quincy decides to invite her best friend, Tammy (McKenna). If you’re counting, we’re up to four people being placed in a cabin-in-the-woods scenario. Nothing positive can possibly come out of this, right?
Colin thinks she can overcome her fear if they go hunting for bears–only he’s going to have a gun full of blanks and a friend in a bear costume. About that…there’s an actual bear on the loose and the film only gets more absurd from there even as the forest ranger, Ranger Rick (Carolan), a really nice guy to be honest, tries to do whatever he can to stop them from hunting bears as the woodsman, Hudson (Jackson), thinks bears are dangerous and he won’t hesitate to kill them.
This is the feature film writing/directing debut for Stribling and for a first feature, it’s a very solid film. It may be weird and strange but the comedy lands. There’s a reason that this film won awards at so many film festivals. It’s just a shame that it’s not going to get a wide theatrical release–my only negative complaint.
Bear with Us made it’s world premiere at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in April 2016. Comedy Dynamics will release Bear with Us on August 15, 2017 on major transactional services.