Review – Force of Nature : The Dry 2

The Dry was a huge win for Australian cinema; after the dry spell (sorry) during Covid, we were welcomed back to cinemas with a brand new Aussie feature starring Eric Bana that took the local (and international) box office by storm. Interestingly enough, flash forward to now, the movie has a delayed release due to the Sag Aftra strikes, and in the current state of cinematic slump that is the start of the year, the follow-up is ready to do the same, hopefully. While this sounds like a great idea and an easy greenlight for the studio, regrettably, the film is bogged down by an overly complicated script and some truly weak performances from some of the cast that keep this from being a compelling mystery that fits as a worthy follow up to 2020 original. 

It’s not all bad, Anna Torv proves once again what a powerhouse she is, truly one of the most underrated actors of our time whose appearances across film and television are nothing short of spectacular. This is no different here; while her character is far from “likeable” she delivers a compelling performance that outshines the rest. Similarly, Eric Bana brings his best to Aaron Falk, albeit in a more reduced role this time around.

Detective Aaron Falk (Bana) is back again, still living in the city, when he is called to the forest to investigate the disappearance of Alice (Torv), along for the ride is his partner Carmen (Jacqueline McKenzie), who interrogates the attendees of the corporate retreat led by Jill Bailey (Deborra Lee-Furness) and her husband Dan (Richard Roxburgh). Rounding out the hiking group is Beth and Bree (Sisi Stringer and Lucy Ansell) and Lauren (Robin McLeavy). 

It’s a shame that the mystery is nowhere near as intriguing as the first film. The constant attempts at twists and turns fall flat. A completely unnecessary plot line also shows flashbacks to Aaron Falk’s childhood and his connection to the rainforest where Alice has disappeared. The film attempts to have three different things going on, with Aaron and Carmen interrogating the hikers, the hikers attempting to follow the map and make their way to the checkpoints and the aforementioned flashbacks that don’t really mix well together. 

Fortunately, the film is absolutely gorgeous to look at. Cinematographer Andrew Commis is able to establish a sense of wild and easy-to-get-lost in a forest. Primarily filmed in Victoria in the Dandenong Ranges, the lush green rainforest that is consistently shrouded in dark clouds creates the perfect foreboding atmosphere that this mystery needs. Throw in some girthy waterfalls and a fabulously decorated eco lodge; this is the perfect tourism ad for this region that we rarely see in Australian film. 

Force of Nature attempts to build on the first film’s success and recycle similar elements that, unfortunately, come out all wet. The film succeeds when it focuses on the group of women struggling to find their way in the forest and their attempts to work together as a team. However, all of this is lost when they keep flashing back to Aaron’s childhood, which worked in the first film but didn’t stick the landing here. Fans of the first film find solace in the continuation of Falk’s investigations, largely helped by performances from Torv and Stringer that maintain our interest in the story. In the age of superior mystery films like Knives Out and the Detective Poroit saga, this sequel fails to excite and falls flat on the rainforest floor. 

Force of Nature : The Dry 2 is in cinemas February 8 courtesy of Roadshow Films.

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The Dry was a huge win for Australian cinema; after the dry spell (sorry) during Covid, we were welcomed back to cinemas with a brand new Aussie feature starring Eric Bana that took the local (and international) box office by storm. Interestingly enough, flash...Review - Force of Nature : The Dry 2