Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Peter (James Caviezel) and Carla (Claudia Karvan) are a married couple having some problems. Good Lord are they having some problems. One of the things that you are going to have to struggle through in this Australian remake of the Australian movie ‘The Long Weekend’, now called ‘Nature’s Grave’, is that both Peter and Carla are so unlikable that it is going to be difficult to generate any sympathy for anything that happens to these two clowns. But we are going to give it a try.

It is a long weekend so Peter has the bright idea that he and his extremely bitchy wife go on a trip to the beach with a couple of friends of theirs, an idea the bitchy wife is totally opposed to. The wife hates the dog, says the dog can’t go, Peter asks the wife did she ask the neighbor to keep the dog, wife says hell no… screw your dog. The dog was great in this movie by the way. After plenty of hemming and hawing Peter and Carla are on their way down some deserted Australian highway to outdoors bliss. In theory. The first problem is that Peter’s GPS in his fancy Land Cruiser is total crap in this part of the world. So he stops off at one of these freaky pubs to ask the completely freaky people in the pub where he needs to go and they basically tell him, in their freaky way, to go back home. Peter doesn’t listen. Eventually Peter makes it to where Australia just flat runs out and enters a wooded area, despite the sign he found that clearly says ‘KEEP OUT’. Whenever I see those signs, I pay attention to those signs, in addition to the freaky people who usually inhabit these locations which is why I’ll never be a character in a horror movie.

Now down the long winding road of KeepOutVille Peter and Carla are ready to setup shop, despite the loud screams of a dying baby. Our hateful couple’s problem continue into the morning as Carla continuously points out how much loot Peter blew on camping gear, including a harpoon gun, which I’m sure we all know can’t anything good come of that. Peter also brought his dads high powered scope rifle. Why? Who

knows, but I’m pretty sure that this is just another of the many bad decisions that Peter will make over the next hour or so. It seems that Peter is the nature lover, though he does things like randomly shoot at ducks, throw garbage into the ocean, start random brush fires and shoot and ominous objects in the ocean. His wife hates nature… and everything for that matter… but it does seem she has more respect for nature than her asshole of a husband.

Strange things are happening all around our pair as the weird screams continue, the occasional animal attack occurs and their animosity towards each other continues to grow and fester. So The Asshole and The Bitch continue to squabble until we eventually find out why they hate each other so much. The thing about that is that they are so hateful towards each other that you really won’t care why and you actually hope they survive this movie to make it home so they can get that divorce. As unlikely as this seems to be. Aside from hoping they get that divorce, the real question is what is happening around them and why is nature turning against them? Actually that’s pretty clear. The sign did say ‘Keep Out’.

I’m not quite sure what I thought about this movie ‘Nature’s Grave’ though it does have a lot of things working it its favor. The pace is slow, maybe too slow for some, but considering the subject matter and how it is approached, it is effective for this film. I haven’t seen the original, but those that have say this remake is very faithful to the source material, almost to a fault. Even though characters of Peter and Paula are completely hateful people, Caviezel and Karvan are very good actors so I’m certain we got what they wanted us to see. The movie ended with one of those grainy wedding video shots to assure us at one time they did love each other, but truth be told they didn’t look like they liked each other too much then either. So effective were Caviezel and Karvan, I’m convinced they hate each other for real.

So our hero in this exercise would be Nature, and despite the level of skill that director Jamie Blanks clearly possess and the high skill level of the actors and the beautiful scenery, I don’t know if I completely embraced nature as a hero. As bad as Peter and Carla were, and they were terrible, I was still kind of hoping they would’ve made it on out there since Nature was being a total jerk about the whole situation. Maybe that’s the anti-environmentalist in me, though I don’t think I’m that at all. I mean I’m ‘green’ like a sonofabitch. Hell, I almost brought a Prius but they had this killer sale on Yukon’s so whaddayagonna do? Just kidding. But regardless, there was just this disconnect between me and the movie which kept me from completely embracing this movie, a movie which otherwise was completely fine.

As I said earlier, there are a lot of really good things that comprise this movie ‘Nature’s Grave’ it’s just a difficult movie, at least for me, to get completely behind despite all of the positives it brings to the table.

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