Dark Nature is a first time horror feature from BAFTA award winning filmmaker Marc de Launay and is a Scottish based slasher film.
The first thing that stand outs is how well the film is shot, it looks fantastic throughout, the choice of location in the Scottish highlands lends itself to the horror genre, whilst the internal sequences are well framed and give the film a great atmosphere.
Use of sound here is excellent, the classical score adds a sombre mood and builds a palpable sense of dread as the family journey towards their destination. Sound effects too are well used, one fight scene in particular is not shown at all but heard, which puts the audience in the film alongside the characters listening.
In terms of plot the film initially plays it fairly straight, a group go to a house and slowly get killed off one by one. What is a little different though is that we are never quite sure who the killer actually is until a good way into the film. Is it the fantastically creepy entomologist who disturbs throughout with his strange monologues to camera, could it be the silent and menacing games keeper or the missing owner of the house that everyone came to visit? These questions keep what could have been a generic slasher interesting throughout and show the strength of writing from the script writer.
Whilst the film has its gory moments, they aren’t over-used. The sparing use of gore really enhances its on screen impact. When played for comedy this isn’t an issue but far too many serious horror films made today simply throw as much gore at the screen as possible and this cheapens its filmic value. So it’s to this film’s credit that the use here is well measured.
For audiences who know their horror, there is more than one nod to Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood on offer here. The opening and closing scenes (without giving anything away) certainly bare a remarkable similarity to Bava’s genre classic. The presence of the aforementioned entomologist also suggests that this film may have begun life as remake of A Bay of Blood.
Okay, so it’s not massively original and at times the lack of budget is evident (although this can’t be helped) but Dark Nature is an entertaining and atmospheric slasher that won’t disappoint fans of the genre.