After a group of hunters wound a grizzly bear in Alaska, the bear mauls a logger named Jason Monroe (Jason Evers). Both the bear and Jason survive their initial meeting. For the next six years, the bear attacks people in the woods and Jason tries to move on from his experience. The indigenous people call the grizzly, “Satan Bear” and it seems like no one can stop it. But when Satan Bear dares to attack a group of boy scouts (including Jason’s son), Jason decides that it’s time to enter the woods and track down the bear.
Claws is like Jaws except the monster has claws. Actually, despite the similarity of their names, Claws isn’t really a rip-off of Jaws as much as it’s a rip-off of Grizzly, which was a rip-off of Jaws. Claws is a rip-off of a rip-off, complete with the all the usual characters who appear in revenge of nature films. Jason is the grizzled hunter. There’s an idealistic college student who knows all about bears. There’s a wise old native man who talks about spirit animals. What sets Claws apart from both Jaws and Grizzly is its heavy use of badly tinted stock footage and all of the flashbacks. The movie starts with a group of hunters shooting at two bears but it’s obvious that the actors playing the hunters were nowhere near the two bears that are featured in the stock footage. The flashbacks are used to fill in everyone’s backstory but none of them have anything to do with the bear so I’m not sure what the point of them was supposed to be. The movie would not be exciting even if it only focused on the bear attacks but adding all those dull flashbacks transforms Claws from being merely mediocre to a real challenge to sit through.
Claws was a flop when it was first released but, a year later, it found success when it was rereleased and retitled Grizzly 2. I guess the film’s distributor figured that they should just go ahead and admit it.