NATURE’S GRAVE, Review.

Posted by Peter Hall - August 4th 2009 @ 4:42 pm

Directed by Jamie Blanks, 2009
Written by Everett De Roche


These are some expanded thoughts from this mini-review at HorrorSquad.


I haven’t seen LONG WEEKEND, Colin Eggleston’s original 1974 Ozploitation film about a couple who venture into the wild for a few days only to discover that Mother Nature’s creatures great and small don’t take kindly to their intrusion, so I can’t speak as to how different Jamie Blanks’ update on the film is. However, I imagine it can’t be too different considering the screenwriter Everett De Roche can be found over at IMDb stating, “I wrote both the original and the remake, and yes, Director Jamie Blanks insisted on a verbatim version, although I was able to insert a few more spooky bits.”  Now that begs the question of whether or not a near verbatim remake was necessary at all.  Again, I can’t attest since I haven’t seen the original for comparison, but what Blanks delivers is an interesting enough diversion from typical stories of this ilk.

I don’t think NATURE’S GRAVE, as LONG WEEKEND has been retitled by Screen Media Films for distribution in the States, is as engaging as Blanks and Roche’s last collaboration, STORM WARNING, but it’s a likeable adult take on the nature-gone-amuck subgenre. This isn’t some Syfy Saturday premiere of all animals versus all humans, it’s a scaled story of a couple going through a severe rough patch in their relationship that happen to be assaulted by eagles and ants and mysterious shadows in the water. James Caviezel and Claudia Karvan are both good in it and there is a palpable air of dread to the entire thing that I admired more on a second go, after I was no longer expecting all animals versus all humans.

I also admire how relatively objective Roche’s script is. Sure there are obvious shots of the married couple needlessly abusing nature, of Caviezel’s character of Peter chopping down a tree for no reason or Karvan’s Carla smashing a bird’s egg in a fit of fury.  But it’s not a preachy, “This is what you get when you don’t recycle” kind of approach.  Peter and Carla are Joe and Jane Schmoe characters.  They’re already irritable from a marital problem whose origin is unclear, so their disrespect for nature is a realistic expansion of being consumed with frustration for each other.  It’s not so much that these two, specifically, get what’s coming.  It’s more so that irresponsible and disrespectful people in general get what’s coming, which is a horror movie message I can get behind.

NATURE’S GRAVE is the kind of movie you put on on a Saturday afternoon, maybe while you’re paying bills or cleaning up the living room.  And that’s not a condemnation.  I’m not out to imply that there’s anything in Blanks’ film or Roche’s script that crumbles when given undivided attention.  There are just some movies that play better in the background than others.  NATURE’S GRAVE will snap your attention from time to time, whether it be with a revelatory barb of dialog or a new threat from Mother Nature, but it’s not going to blow your mind and that’s perfectly okay.  It has some memorable moments, foreboding photography and it ends exactly how I wanted it to end.  That’s about as Saturday afternoon as it gets.

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rss 13 comments
  1. August 4th, 2009 | 5:51 pm | #1

    I loved Long Weekend and can’t wait to check this out because of that fact and also because I dug Storm Warning. But what horrible cover art and why’d they have to go and change the title of the movie to the awful ‘Nature’s Grave’?

  2. August 4th, 2009 | 10:14 pm | #2

    Was this the “new” Jim Caviezel movie that almost snagged you an interview the guy? That poster makes it seem so “SyFy channel original-y”

  3. August 4th, 2009 | 10:21 pm | #3

    Johnny Boots, no idea why they did either. Shrug.

    Brad, yeah, this was it. I even sent off some simple questions, but I’m doubtful they’ll be answered.

  4. Ian
    August 21st, 2009 | 6:57 pm | #4

    Yeah, horrible cover art. Good movie though. Has a freaky concept in it and great acting. I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys horror.

  5. Sheila
    August 26th, 2009 | 9:50 pm | #5

    My husband and I saw it a few nights ago and were rivited to the screen the whole time. And the last 20 minutes or so had us on the edges of our seats. Jim Caviezel and Claudia (?) gave wonderful performances and the cinematography was amazing.

  6. valreid
    November 7th, 2010 | 2:16 pm | #6

    What was with the ending showing a metal spike and a chameleon?

  7. Donal
    December 29th, 2010 | 10:26 am | #7

    Valreid, that was the spear from the spear-gun, presumably still embedded in Carla. I’m looking at a still picture of it, and there is no chameleon – It’s an unfurled fern, growing alongside the shaft. Looks like there are some small subtle spots of rust on the spear also.

    The imagery, in my opinion, is intended to contrast nature against the presence&impact of humanity. In the scene, humans have left, and their detritus is slowly but inexorably enveloped by natures’ regrowth.

  8. Jean
    January 11th, 2011 | 9:25 pm | #8

    I saw this movie last night and I was spellbound during the entire time. It was very frightening and it made me recall my own experiences camping. I’m too old now and don’t go camping but this movie would definitely make me think twice about going! I was upset when Cavaziel was shooting at birds, the thing in the water, etc. I did feel he was reaping what he sowed as did his wife! It was a shocking film to watch.

  9. Zizine
    January 15th, 2011 | 6:47 pm | #9

    I found the scenery breathtaking and the film totally depressing. Men’s egotistical ability to destroy their own happiness when it’s become too boring soon no longer proves amusing. Nature provides a shorter-lived challenge.

  10. Dana
    February 20th, 2011 | 1:28 am | #10

    Worthless. Made absolutely no sense. A waste of time and money.

  11. Liz
    May 1st, 2011 | 2:12 am | #11

    BY FAR THE WORST FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! I’M SO ANNOYED THAT I EVEN GAVE IT A CHANCE BEGINNING TO END! IT WAS TERRIBLE!!! The plot was horrible, it was soooo boring, it makes no sense. The ending I predicted they’d all die off, which of course they did minus the truck driver….and we don’t know about the dog. I didn’t find it suspenseful or even the slight bit entertaining. The characters were annoying. If I had to ratE this on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 0. TERRIBLE.

  12. 8bitAngel
    May 18th, 2011 | 5:36 pm | #12

    I thought it was shot really well. It never seems to explain how the spear would have gotten in his wife’s neck. It kinda makes me think that Jim’s character is delusional and that maybe he’s the one killing all the other characters. Towards the end he shoots his rifle to the sky & a show drops out of nowhere. After that he fires the spear gun into the dark & passes out. The next morning, miles away he finds her body

  13. Vickie
    June 20th, 2012 | 10:24 am | #13

    Did anyone think of the dog left in his car at the end of the movie. The windows were up and he closed the door when he got out.

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