Directed by Marc de Launay
With a Chopin fueled drive into the horrific, Marc de Launay’s grim atmospheric tale of madness and isolation, Dark Nature, tortures the viewer with its rich landscapes and violent twists. Following a family in the woods setting, or in some moments versus the woods, Dark Nature, owes its form to horror standards such as The Shining , The Long Weekend and Calvaire. Heightened by the constant threat of their surroundings, the town folk and the woods, as well as the insecurities in their own sanity, these poor souls must constantly battle the dangers of the world and its messed up inhabitants.
Dark Nature is a bit of a rough film to pinpoint. Its weakness is in the film’s hesitance to go one-step further and yet its strong point is patience and a commitment to build up. The use of the rich Scottish landscape and maniacal score create a stark and tense atmosphere, an atmosphere that the film creates very well. Its problem however (and I’m shocked to say this considering it’s a Troma release) is that it’s death scenes are rather anti-climatic and serve no purpose other than the elimination of a character from the rest of the script. Maybe this saved them money at the Kraft table but what they didn’t realize is that the dead still need to eat. Moreover, for a film like this I tend to want my death sequences to be filled with the sounds of pig guts being catapulted into waxed glass walls while the harrowing wails of the nations children cry for the loss of their fathers, not the pffff of an old lady fart. For so much build up and often near-perfect tension, Dark Nature, seems to always back away from the violence. I don’t need every film to be drenched in blood, sweat and tears, but if it’s going to have it, I’d at least like to get a little squeamish. Driven forth by a beautifully arranged piano score Dark Nature, builds and builds and builds always challenging the viewer to feel comfortable while at the same time worrying about what might kill you next (usually it’s the psychopath with the hatchet hiding in the shed, but shit, you shouldn’t have gone in there in the first place.)
Ending in a climactic game of “Hide and Go Kill”, Dark Nature, serves as a prime example of the need for home renovation in rural Scotland. Fix your creaky stairs, make sure you have all your keys, double check the stove before you go out, fortify your hiding spots and never, I repeat never, wait beside your bear traps to see if they end up working, you’ll just end up blowing your cover or getting impatient and trying it out for yourself.