Dark Nature (2022)
Director (and co-writer): Berkley Brady
Cast: Hannah Emily Anderson, Madison Walsh, Daniel Arnold, Helen Belay, Kyra Harper, Roseanne Supernault
It tells the story of a therapy group that is forced to confront the monsters of their past when an isolated weekend retreat tests their emotional resilience and ability to survive. – IMDB
Nature is always a great setting since it gives us beauty but can also give us danger and isolation. Set in the beautiful forests, valleys and mountains of Canadian Rockies, Dark Nature uses the mysterious unknown hidden in the nature to its advantage to give its monster a lot of hidden moments to spectate the women who are on this retreat to heal but also gives these women a lot of moments to question what is actually there and what is set up for their treatment.
The threat here doesn’t really have a name but comes into recognition when its brought in conversation. Clever conversation is so important in films and this brings up such a good bridge to this one. The film teases a little whether its a bear or cougar or something else and while it breaks that belief very soon in the film, this spirit does some pretty scary stuff. The design of it is also revealed fairly late in the film and does have a creepy design.
The film is relatively well-paced. There are only five women in this group and each of their struggles and why they are at this support group is exchanged fairly soon. The film also starts off on a strong note which sets up the situation of why the main character Joy is there and the domestic abuse she experiences. The entire first scene is done really well from atmosphere to sound to its overall cinematography. In the nature, they aren’t a lot of bodies but they drop, boy, do they drop fast. It comes to a second half that reminds heavily of that of Rogue (review).
Overall, Dark Nature is a pretty good horror film. You can definitely see some of its inspirations of other horror films in some of its scenes and yet, it still gets the job done. Its part creature feature and spiritual and nature film. The acting is acceptable and the overall script and dialogues are pretty good to highlight the distinct character traits of each of these women. There is a decent setup before the situation gets worse. Of course, there’s also some big reveal at the end and this actually has plenty of clues working up to it so its not completely unpredictable but still is well-executed overall in pacing and cinematography.