"A simple idea well executed, revelling in its honest approach, and the impressive performance by Neeson..."

Never mind ghosts or aliens or any other supernatural beings, often the most chilling of antagonists come in the form of what we actually know and believe, and a pack of ravenous and deadly wolves is absolutely terrifying, adding a touch of anxiety and realism to Joe Carnahan's thriller The Grey.

Set in Alaska, Ottway, played by Liam Neeson, a security hunter for an oil drilling company, contemplating suicide due to the death of his wife. However, death soon comes to find him, as Ottway and the rest of the team are involved in a plane crash over desolate and freezing cold Alaskan wilderness - one that is fatal to the majority on board.

There are, however, seven survivors, of which Ottway is one. Self-declaring himself the leader of the group, he is joined by a bunch of extremely anxious men, all missing their homes and families, and now fearing for their lives - apart from the rebellious Diaz (Frank Grillo), too proud to let Ottway take charge.

The group soon discover they are a target for wild wolves, as they appear to have crashed on their patch, deeming them intruders. The despairing few soon become even lower in numbers, as the wolves begin to catch their prey one after another, as the desperate remaining few must find a way to safe land and continue to live.

It's a film that could quite easily be disappointing yet preconceptions were eased when knowing of Neeson's involvement. As ever, he is fantastic, and in a similar way to Taken, it's a very simple premise which he just takes in his hands and allows to thrive, instead just replacing the Albanian mafia for fatal canines that he must overcome. Neeson is always so genuine as an action hero, an astounding feat given his ability to play the more serious and sincere roles he is also renowned for, yet in this instance it's almost a cross-over of the two, as the more intimate scenes of flashbacks of his late partner are sure to be rather painful for Neeson, following the tragic death of his wife Natasha Richardson.

Carnahan has to be commended on his attempt to approach the conventional thriller somewhat differently, taking a more personal and tender look at the characters, in a more sentimental way.  This allows for the audience to get to know those who are usually merely killed off with little to no back story, with their characteristics presented in the enjoyable and genuine banter between the survivors. There are occasional attempts to make the film appear more arty, such as the dream-like flashbacks that Neeson suffers where he imagines himself lying in bed with his wife. Aside from that, it's a very macho film, with no other female characters of note.

Yet such sentimentalism does breed the occasional rolling of the eyes, and at points it does become a little too mawkish. Occasionally this suits the nature of the film, but at other times it feels contrived and too conflicting to the existent situation.

Such sentiment is counter-acted however with the suspenseful scenes where the film starts to feel more like a horror movie, as the group are slowly being picked off one by one. Such tension and anxiety is only heightened by the deafening and atmospheric soundtrack, with real emphasis on the sounds of the roaring wind and the incessant howling of the wolves.

It's just a simple idea well executed, revelling in its honest approach, and the impressive performance by Neeson. And for all of you Neeson quoters (I'm looking at you Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon), after the very quotable line from Taken, "I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you". Well here's a new one for you from The Grey; "Shove a stick up it's arse. We will cook it, and we will eat it."