Originally posted at blogcritics.org
Crikey — it’s another “Save The Planet Or We’re All Doomed” movie, folks! But this particular film — an Australian entry in the Nature Gone Awry genre — is actually a remake of Australia’s own Long Weekend (1978). Thirty years later, somebody felt compelled to redo the whole movie over again, using the same script (the Aussie release of Nature’s Grave bears the same title as the original). As to why is anyone’s guess.
Peter (Jim Caviezel) and Carla (Claudia Karvan) are your average yuppie couple. Their marriage is in dire straits following several bouts of infidelity and an abortion. And so, Peter figures a trip to the beautiful ocean will improve things. But outdoorsmen, they are not. They litter. Throw still-burning cigarettes out the window. Chop down perfectly healthy trees. And shoot at random things in the water — arguing with each other over everything the entire length of the film. Finally, once Mother Nature confirms with the audience that these two individuals are complete losers, she strikes back — sending eagles, snakes, ants, spiders, and a very dead seal to taunt and terrorize them.
Oh, the ecological horror.
Distributed on DVD by Screen Media Films, Nature’s Grave is presented in a rather lovely 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio with 5.1 Surround Sound. The picture is relatively clear (especially the beach scenes) with very little grain or debris present. Often, the movie looks like it were shot with a video camera and then transferred to film. The 5.1 soundtrack delivers a decent experience, but never whisks you away into the movie (not that you’d want to join these two dolts — except to kill them and possibly earn a reward from Mother Nature). No subtitles are offered. The only special features to be found here are a couple of trailers for other Screen Media releases.
The message is perfectly clear to even the most oblivious of people (of which I am a proud, card-carrying member). The execution of the production isn’t all that bad, either: the photography is rather nice, and the suspense factor often succeeds in generating a thrill or two. And yet, Nature’s Grave doesn’t work, mostly due to the fact that Jim and Claudia (the only major characters in the whole film) do such a good job of bickering and barking at one another that you genuinely start to hate them within minutes — and can’t wait to see them killed.
Too bad Mother Nature takes her precious sweet time in doing so.