Very rarely am I ever really terrified by an indie movie, not because its indie per say but because they lack something that, even in Hollywood movies, a good horror movie has… and that’s the sound work. True Nature gets it in all the right places. I was genuinely freaked out by it but that may be because I was watching it in total darkness. The story follows a wealthy suburban family and how they try to cope with each other after their daughter, who has disappeared for months, mysteriously turns up alive. However, she isn’t the person she once was. She begins having violet flashbacks to the night of her disappearance, she begins seeing and hearing these things that keep beckoning her, her sense of smell and taste are off and she’s trying to figure out what happened to her on the night of her disappearance. This isn’t a horror movie, it’s a supernatural thriller but there is an aspect of the movie that might frighten you.
True Nature’s production was something that I noticed right away and it stands out. It’s a very well made movie with great technical aspects. The camerawork was something that I caught on immediately; it may look generic on the outside but if you really pay attention to it, it puts you right in the movie in turn making the movie feel more tragic. There are (actually, I assume) some great special effects but what I have to admire is the practical lighting effects. The scenes with the ‘creatures’ are especially scary because you don’t know if there really is a creature or if it’s just shadows. In terms of lighting, seeing bright flashing lights not knowing where the source is has always frightening me. I guess it’s because I usually connect that with alien invasions, which I thought this movie was about.
But perhaps their biggest achievement, in terms of technical aspects, is the sound design. It was in this department that really made the movie scary, somber and foreboding. It’s hard to describe the sound because most of the sound effects are unnatural but I will say this: even during the most reflective points in the movie, the creepy atmospheric sounds will make you feel as though something is about to happen. Atmospheric tones mixed with a shrill soundtrack and frightening noises make for a movie that really does play with your head. I think the best way to get the effect would be to watch this, as I did, in total darkness… so that when you hear the sounds, you won’t know if it’s coming from the movie or your room. That’s the freaky thing about it, they are natural sounds but they sound unnatural.
All the performances were great, some shined more than others but every one did a great job. The actors/actresses really made me feel for their characters, which is something that not many supernatural movies can do. It showed a real family with real problems trying to help their daughter recuperate from her disappearance and you can see the personality change in everybody. There are some cheesy moments in there that kind of make the movie seem like a Lifetime original movie, but even if that’s how the movie feels… that’s one messed up Lifetime movie.
The only problem that I had, and this is after you find out what really happened to the daughter, was the lack of an explanation behind the ‘creatures’ or how the daughter returned. I don’t want it to be spoon fed but even if it was passed off as an assumption that would have been great. Otherwise, the movie was great and I highly recommend it. With it’s slow building, character driven plot and its supernatural overtones it felt like it could be an episode of The X-Files. I believe this a movie that could have been stretched to more than just an hour or so but rather two hours. It’s a story that felt really compelling to me and I can’t wait for their next film.