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Force of Nature: The Dry 2 (2024) — Movie Review

With the remarkable success of 2021's "The Dry", anticipation mounted for a follow-up. The gripping story based on Jane Harper's novel featured Erik Bana as a Melbourne detective, Aaron Falk, drawn into a web of hidden truths. A successor, "Force of Nature: The Dry 2", however, disappointingly fails in articulating its inherent complexities and fails to establish a connection with its own narrative.

Contrary to its suggestive title, "The Dry 2" is not a sequel. It's an independent narrative with the single recurring character of Aaron. The production and acting in the film are commendable, but instead of genuinely encapsulating depth, it merely alludes to it.

The premise is indeed full of possibility. Five women embark on a corporate retreat, embroiled in a hike through a dense rainforest meant to foster teamwork and enhance workplace efficacy. Yet, one less woman emerges from the forest, and each remaining member is reticent about the mishap of their disappeared colleague. Detective Aaron Falk jumps into the investigation with his partner Carmen (played by Jacqueline McKenzie), engaging his professional and personal experiences.

The narrative's undeniable similitude with the Australian film, "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and Margaret Atwood's enigmatic 1989 story "Death by Landscape" deserves mention. Both narratives emphasize on landscapes that influence and inevitably consume the humans that wander into them.

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 (2024) — Movie Review

Members of the retreat are well-portrayed by an exceptional cast. Included are two pairs of sisters - an unlikely coincidence - working for the same company, plausibly straining the narrative's credibility. However, their lost colleague Alice (played by Anna Torv) is the primary provocateur in the group. The question of Alice's whereabouts and what happened to her forms a gripping core to the narrative.

Yet, the film introduced more threads by implying the company has been under financial crime investigation, and Alice was in fact a covert informer. Aaron suspects foul play. More so, there's a link to Aaron's childhood wherein his mother vanished during a family trip to the same forest he's now investigating.

Despite "The Dry" handling a similar storytelling structure beautifully, "Force of Nature: The Dry 2" falters with these multiple tracks constantly interrupting each other, making the narrative momentum choppy and distancing emotional involvement.

While "Force of Nature" does provide intrigue around Alice's disappearance and each character's plausible motive for wanting Alice gone, the suspense that could've carried the film to a satisfying conclusion is bogged down by too many diverging narratives.