There's nothing wrong with paying respect to your influences. Many a genre film past and present has done this, and sometimes to great success. It's usually for not though, as many directors trying to respect the directors and movies that they love end up coming off as immature fan-boys or people without an original bone in their body. While Marc De Launay's "Dark Nature" doesn't fall for those traps, it's still a mess.
Somewhere in Scotland, a very dysfunctional family is on vacation. There's a bit of a problem though-there's a killer whose knocking people off. Oh, and some of the requisite oddball characters who exist only to be killed show up as well.
There are a few things "Dark Nature" get's right. The score is pretty good, some of the cinematography and footage of nature is beautiful, and the gore is pretty cool. That's where the fun ends though, as much of the movie is De Launay paying tribute to the likes of Dario Argento, Mario Bava ("Twitch of the Death Nerve" seems to be the primary influence here,) "Friday the 13th" and old ecological horror films like "Long Weekend." While he manages to thankfully do so without pilfering from said movies, he still gets a whole lot wrong.
For one thing, it's never that scary or intriguing. The aforementioned movies and directors managed to create a sense of dread and suspense to go with everything else. However, the director here seems clueless as to how to do that, as he can't even pull off a decent atmosphere. Also, all of the characters are extremely annoying. People like the entomologist and the psychic are supposed to be interesting in an odd way, but they are more annoying if anything. And don't get me started with the family, especially the daughter. So much time is spent with this obnoxious bitch that the viewer is left exhausted.
And then there's all of the talk. There's a lot of it here-and let it be known there is a difference between dialog and talk. Dialogue is interesting and helps with the characters. This movie is so talky that there were moments in which I started to remember the films of Andy Milligan-and that's not a good thing. Oh, and let's not forget the whole ecological message in the movie, which in a shocking surprise falls flat. The film wants to be a commentary on man's mistreatment of nature, yet it can't make that work. It instead comes off as a poor man's mix of "Friday the 13th" and Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist."
It's a shame that I didn't like the movie, as there are a few neat things in it, and I do think that it had potential to be good. What I got though was a talky, boring mess of a movie. I expect better, and the audience deserves better too. At least it's better than the movies of Dante Tomaselli.
Reviewed by gavin_watson1 / 10
Many of the other reviewers have given this film various marks over 6/10 which to me is completely baffling. Like others have stated this film was on in cineworld for one Friday only with 2 showings. We decided to take the risk with an unknown due to the unappealing range of Hollywood films in at the moment. judging by the larger audience it had to be made up of either people involved with the film or others who plumped with the risk of an unknown effort.
I'll start off with the positives - it was just over an hour long. the film actually started about 9.20 and we were back in our flat by 11. If this film had been 2 hours long I fear I would've been in the "leavers" category, which is saying something as i even sat through Gozu!! The Gory parts were done reasonably well for such a low budget film although after viewing it you've got to wonder whether or not the whole budget was blown on this! The negatives are plentiful. First and foremost, the storyline was awful, plain and simple. Throughout the whole "film" there is not one iota of an explanation given as to why certain people do what they do. From the typewriter moment at the start, to the tarot cards to the ending with the crossbow - it didn't really fit together to make a competent plot. They are obviously trying to show that everyone has it in them to kill another human being, all it takes is a trigger - but the trigger is never inserted into the storyline. Senseless killing is OK if you go down the route of having an insane serial killer but this seemed to be trying to portray the opposite and failed badly.
Another huge negative was the standard of acting. Only the gamekeeper gets pass-marks for his acting in this even though he only had about 5 lines. The rest of the cast were horrendous beyond belief - I doubt many of them would get a shot on Emmerdale it was that bad. I am maybe being harsh as i haven't seen them in anything else so it could be the case that they were working with what they were given - which wasn't much. the dialogue is shocking, the writer of this nonsense should really hang his head in shame.
A third big negative for me was the lack of imagination in terms of shooting on that location. They obviously had a beautiful spot to work with but didn't utilise it properly. Most shots were bland and ordinary which served in a descriptive manner rather than adding anything to the movie itself. It could have been so much better if a photographer had been used to get the best out of the location.
In summary I feel like this was a really poor effort . I cant condone people shouting in the cinema but at the same time if i had paid £7 for that i would have been raging. Luckily i have an unlimited card so i can afford some stinkers. I can assure you that if River City ever decide to make a late night episode with a serial killer on the loose it would beat this effort hands down.
Reviewed by yousoldmysoulforpogs5 / 10
It's not good, but as a media student I can sympathise!
Perhaps when I took my seat, waited twenty minutes through darkness and up came a DVD menu on the cinema screen wasn't exactly what I expected. The film had a very limited cinema release (i.e. twice a week for a month in Cineworld, and that was it) so I was determined to catch at least one showing. When beginning to describe the film, low-budget doesn't scratch the surface, the whole movie no doubt filmed entirely on the Southwest coast of Scotland in the film-makers' back garden. It's a horror/slasher flick in all fragances but it fails badly to pin the woes of the killer on a "you're killing the earth, so we're killing you" twist. It's obvious that although the film tries its very best to be serious (it fails), the dialogue makes numerous nods to slasher films of yore (such classic lines like "He wasn't strong enough" and "The Earth fights back"). Why in God's name didn't they go all out B-movie slasher tribute style, I don't know - because the narrative strengths (if they exist) lie completely in the moments in the film where the killer is honing in on his prey. All in all, the film ends up lamehat because it indeed takes itself far too seriously when it really had no chance at all with the kind of budget it had. Gets a better rating because of the reasonably convincing gore and the slightly present "so-bad-it's-good" factor, but overall the producers should have thrown the script in the writer's face and said "bring back some GOAR!".