Nature's Grave (aka Long Weekend)
Directed by Jaime Blanks
The horror films coming out from Australia are rivaling the French, British and *gasp* even the Americans. Wolf Creek, Rogue, Dying Breed and others have all shown that even they....wait for it.... can make mediocre horror films.
Well Nature's Grave aka Long Weekend is just another run of the mill, when nature runs amok movie that's just like the rest of the straight to used DVD bin movies we make here.
It's unfortunate that it turned out this way. I would have expected something a little more from a movie that plotted a story of man vs nature. It's premise seemed to be slightly intriguing but in the end, all we get is a tidal wave of disappointment.
A suburban couple take a weekend vacation in the hopes of repairing their relationship. What they don't know is that when they mess with nature, Nature will bite them back. They set out to an isolated beach where they encounter nature's revenge.
Having read after seeing the movie that Nature's Grave is a shot by shot remake of an original cult classic Long Weekend (1978), I was thinking I should have watched the original. The movie is quite a slow burn and when you get to the end, it just goes out.
Peter (Jim Caviezel) and Marcia (Claudia Karvan) are having marital problems but decide to go to a camping trip to work it out. Peter is an unlikeable American Republican type who likes to shoot guns, drink hard liquor and surf the turf. Marcia is his Australian nagging wife who hates the outdoors and is our fish out of water.
The lovely couple are so incompatible it begs the question of how they ever got together (we never find out btw). They bicker, argue and curse at each other, you really don't care about any one of them. Usually in these "camping in the woods" horror flicks, only 1 or 2 of the characters would be intolerable dumb early killed victim fodder, but here we get both, and we're stuck with them throughout the entire flick.
But remember, this is a man vs nature theme and both husband and wife take part in "messing with nature". From killing ants, throwing plastic bags and beer bottles into the ocean, to smashing eagle's eggs, they are the environment's public enemy #1. The final straw is broken when Peter kills a sea cow with his rifle.
You just don't mess with sea cows.
Soon nature retaliates. You would hope that these scare scenes would be inventive and frightening. They all end up very yawn-ish and utterly ridiculous. Snakes, spiders and an eagle attack are just a few of the attacks nature unleashes. Really? The most WTF moment has gotta be a semi dead animal mysteriously making an appearance "scare" to our tourists. I was LOLing and slapped my forehead in disbelief. Wow. Could this movie get more unbelievable?
After a discovery of other would be campers making an attempt to rough it, we conclude with an ending that probably would have made a decent trailer. The final scene is completely wacky but at this point, you could have turned to the Sy Fy channel and seen something slightly better.
The only performance worth talking about in Nature's Grave has got to be Cricket...the dog! That dog rivals Lassie in being the most trained, most energetic and most useful canine I've ever seen. I know Jim Caviezel played Jesus, but Star as Cricket gives a tour de force performance that rivals any Taco Bell chiwawa.
Nature's Grave is like an anti Discovery Channel documentary. Humanity is definitely a virus towards the planet, but we've been trying to be better at it. Recycling, protecting endangered species and saving whales.
I guess it's fitting nature took it's revenge. By giving us this movie.
A few deads bodies
The final kill (I won't spoil it)
That creepy animal creeping
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Nature's Grave is being released on DVD from Screen Media Films on August 4th. I sometimes got the feeling that this movie was being biased towards Americans. We're all not the anti nature a**h*** that the rest of the world makes us out to be. We're trying to save the whales for goodness sake.
So what did we learn from the movie?
Don't mess with sea cows. Just don't.
Check out the trailer.
Also here's the trailer for the original movie. (It does look kinda cool doesn't it?)
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