DARK NATURE (2022)
Joy (Hanna Emily Anderson) has finally gotten out of an abusive relationship with her prone-to-violence boyfriend Derek (Daniel Arnold). She agrees to go on a therapeutic camping trip with her fiend Carmen (Madison Walsh), two other women (Roseanne Supernault and Helen Belay), and a therapist (Kyra Harper). The camping trip starts to turn into a nightmare, as Joy begins to hear things and believes they are being pursued by some sort of creature. Is this a figment of her troubled mind or is there really something inhuman stalking the five women in the middle of the wilderness.
Flick is written and directed by Berkley Brady, and she does give us some strong imagery and intense scenes. It also has a disturbing creature and some well rendered gore. The effort here is well intended and Joy is a likable and sympathetic heroine as played by What Keeps You Alive‘s Hanna Emily Anderson. Obviously, the messages about abusive relationships and their effects are also presented and received well. What held it back a bit is that the editing is at times too tight. More than once the film jumps from one place or time to another where a simple establishing shot would have given us a better idea of time passing and distance traveled. It makes the film a bit jumpy and at only 85 minutes, Brady could have spent a few more moments making the narrative flow a little smoother. Also, the film just feels like it’s over a bit too quickly. We needed a bit more time with certain story elements to really give them resonance before the intense and bloody cave set climax. Add to that a major reveal about Joy was completely predictable and seen coming a mile away and the film does strongly resemble Neil Marshall’s similarly plotted The Descent. Otherwise, the FX and cinematography are effective and the small cast quite good, with Brady showing some promise as a filmmaker, given some more experience. Now streaming.