Nature’s Grave (DVD)

Nature's Grave DVD review (click for larger image)Reviewed by Andrew kasch

Starring James Caviezel, Claudia Karvan, Roger Ward, John Brumpton, Robert Taylor

Directed by Jamie Blanks

Distributed by Screen Media

1998. Gus Van Sant releases a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and is immediately denounced as the biggest blasphemer in cinema history.

2008. Jamie Blanks, director of several bad slasher films, takes the obscure Australian gem Long Weekend and does the same exact thing.

So I ask you: Which is worse?

In this writer’s opinion, Nature’s Grave – the re-titled rehash of the latter 1978 classic – is not only the bigger offender, it may be the most creatively-devoid remake we’ve seen yet.

When Van Sant remade Psycho, there were no delusions. It was an experiment in film; a laborious attempt to duplicate the most visually-influential movie in cinema history. With Nature’s Grave Blanks has taken an obscure-but-incredible movie and made a carbon copy without any genuine artistic voice or motivation behind it. It’s literally the same damn thing. Practically every shot and line of dialogue is duplicated, only with the added “Jesus Power” of Jim Caviezel (whose giant face adorns one of the worst DVD Photoshop covers in recent memory). And why? What for? I still have no idea.

The plot of Long Weekend/Nature’s Grave is fairly simple: A bickering, unpleasant couple decides to take a vacation in the middle of the Australian wilderness in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. Once there, these city folk waste no time doing things that would send Smokey the Bear into cardiac arrest. They spread their junk, create fire hazards and trample all over the surrounding wildlife. But “Mother Nature” quickly strikes back and they soon find themselves isolated when their surroundings begin to attack with an almost supernatural vengeance.

Both films are slow-burn atmospheric exercises in terror. The only difference is that one has a distinct artistic voice and the other one doesn’t. It’s really that simple. Because Nature’s Grave is so slavishly devoted to the original, it earns a few points due to expert cinematography and sound design – but Blanks (as usual) understands little beyond camera mechanisms. The performances here are vastly inferior and the ever soft-spoken Caviezel just can’t play a convincing asshole, no matter how hard he tries.

So what’s on the DVD? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Honestly, Nature’s Grave isn’t worth wasting words on. It’s Grand Theft Cinema: a pointless, artless clone that serves no purpose. Do yourself a favor and seek out the original Long Weekend to get a real horrific dose of nature run amok.

Special Features

  • Nothing


    2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    0 out of 5

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    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • Brian S

      Brian S
      Yeah i liked it! Caviezel has now been stereo-typed but this role and only 2 people and their dog trying to survive the wilderness is really good and makes you think!

      Great remake!!!

    • Floydian Trip

      I don’t get what was so creepy about it. WHen it finally made it to the campsite I would have started a fire and roasted the damn thing. It’s the most inoffensive creature I can think of. Why not a Goblin shark or something.

      I honestly don’t see how this movie is a horror film. Drama I can see, not horror.

    • Floydian Trip

      Also, I don’t mind watching characters interact for the better part of a movie. In fact, I prefer it that way. As I was watching it I thought it wasn’t bad at all and just assumed there would be a big pay off at the end but no. Caviezel’s character seems like a pretty bright guy. He definitely didn’t strike as the type who would step in front of a semi truck trying to flag it down when it’s only 50 feet away.

      I was thinking of something like Audition at the end. Something really fucked up.

    • Floydian Trip

      I like Caviezel. There wasn’t anything wrong with his performance. The actress playing his wife was good as well.

      So no one wastes their time with this movie here’s what happens. A couple on the verge of divorce decides to go camping for the weekend to try and repair their relationship. So they spend a couple of hours fighting, there’s no resolution and then they both die stupidly at the end. That’s really all that goes on in this movie.

      The Sea Cow was retarded. Maybe if it had been a zombie Sea Cow it would have been different but no it just lies there and is somehow supposed to be menacing. Ha, what a joke.

      If someone wants to watch a nature runs amok kind of flick then they should watch The Ruins. Not this worthless thing. I didn’t know it was a remake but I’m not exactely chomping at the bit to watch the original.

      • Tristan Sinns

        The damned sea cow was creepy! I think this film should get at least 3 props for having a creepy sea cow. You just don’t see that often!

    • Tristan Sinns

      I actually kind of liked it and thought Caviezel made a fine asshole. That sea cow was creepy.

      It is true though that I have not seen the original and so had no opinion on it being a shot-for-shot remake.

    • The Woman In Black

      I’m so glad you took this bullet for us, Andrew! The disc has been in our “to watch” pile for a while, but we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Now it seems we won’t have to.

    • Floydian Trip

      I think this is the first movie I’ve seen where absolutely nothing happens. The ending is just ignorant.