Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nature's Grave - A Highly Effective Remake


It wasn't until an article was published on this movie in the newest issue of Fangoria that I had even heard about it, just one day prior to its straight to DVD release, but I was immediately excited about it for several reasons. (1) It's a remake of the Aussie horror flick Long Weekend, a movie which i've always loved. (2) It was written by the same guy who wrote Long Weekend. And (3) It was directed by Jamie Blanks, who directed the recent Dimension Extreme gore-fest Storm Warning, which I also dug. Now that i've seen it, i'm happy to report that Nature's Grave, despite its shitty cover art and change of name, is a highly effective and awesome remake of Long Weekend. I haven't seen LW in a good couple years but from what I can remember, NG is a borderline scene by scene replica of it. So what's the point, you might be asking? The performances are better and perhaps more nuanced and it's a nice refreshing crisp and clean take on the old tale. Some may still say it's utterly pointless to do a scene by scene remake, and i'd agree in the case of Van Sant's Psycho, but I really dug this flick and i'm glad they decided to introduce it to today's audience - many of whom have probably never seen or even heard of Long Weekend. That being said, how can you be against a remake that the writer of the original is all for?

For those who fall into the category of never having seen Long Weekend, it and Nature's Grave are about a hate filled couple who have no respect for each other or for nature and all its inhabitants. They fuck with Mother Nature and boy does she fuck back with a vengeance. If Jaws kept you out of the water, then Nature's Grave just might prevent you from ever littering, killing animals, or disrespecting Mother Naitch again!

That concept is one the reasons i've always loved Long Weekend so much - it's totally original. The killer is not a masked psycho wielding a machete. The killer is Mother Nature herself. How cool is that? Like it states in the Fango article, these issues of environmental awareness are even more relevant than they were back in the 70's when Long Weekend came out, which is another reason i'm glad to see it get a redo. It's an important cautionary tale of sorts and I think it's awesome that a whole new generation of viewers is gonna get to see it. Believe it or not, there are people out there who refuse to watch movies from the 70's, so sometimes important movies need to be remade so folks like those will take the time to watch them. Sad but very true.

Nature's Grave, much like the original, is a slow moving flick where not much happens in the first hour or so of the movie so if you're not into that kind of slow burn horror, it might not be the movie for you. I for one love slow paced movies so I had no problem whatsoever with that. The deliberately slow pace gives you the time to get to know the characters - characters who you will at times hate and will at times be rooting for. I've read a few reviews of this movie that state it's boring and to that I can only laugh because people always complain when horror movies have no fleshed out characters and yet they also complain when horror movies take the time to flesh out those characters. Ya just can't win with some people.

Another aspect of Long Weekend that i've always really liked is that many major events of the film are never explained. You're never sure exactly what's going on and Nature's Grave does no more explaining than Long Weekend did. It makes for a very creepy little open to interpretation movie that certaintly gets ya thinking. Are the animals striking back? Is it all in the character's heads? Is there a killer out there on the loose? Is it all mere coincidence? These questions are entirely up to you to answer.

If you've seen Long Weekend then you've essentially already seen Nature's Grave but i'd still recommend you check it out, especially if you really liked the former. If you've never seen Long Weekend (click to buy) i'd suggest checking it out and if you like it, follow it up with Nature's Grave (click to buy). I will say that even if you are very familiar with Long Weekend, the ending of this flick will still shock the hell out of you and make your jaw hit the floor.

Chalk another one up for remakes!


the jaded viewer said...

Gotta disagree with you on this. I thought it was a terrible movie

It's such a slow burn and both characters (Jesus and the wife) are highly annoying.

If it wasn't for that mysterious animal, I would have thrown the DVD out the window as that was my WTF moment.

Johnny said...

To each his own!

Both characters are annoying, yes, but I think that helps the movie cause i'm pretty sure you're supposed to be torn between liking and hating them.

As for the sea cow, I dug it just cause it's so bizarre and you never really know why or how it keeps moving. Felt it added to the overall creepiness of the whole thing. But maybe that's just me!

Carl (ILHM) said...

Despite JV's thoughts, you won me over Johnny, I will definitely check it out! Thanks for the rec on this one, Ive been in a rut trying to find new titles to look into, if you have a list of recs you could email me for smaller indie flicks that might be off my radar Id love to check any and all of them out!

Johnny said...

i'll see what I can come up with, Carl!