Directed by Colin Eggleston
When a suburban couple go camping for the weekend at a remote beach, they discover that nature isn't in an accommodating mood.
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★★★★½ review by Hollie Horror on Letterboxd
As I was going through my watchlist last night, I was really into the idea of watching something silly like Outback Vampires (from Ozploitation director Colin Eggleston, I'd already seen & enjoyed Cassandra and checked off Innocent Prey as well), but Richard convinced me to watch Eggleston's most acclaimed film [also in my watchlist for a few years] first, and now I know why! Long Weekend is so, SO good and don't let anyone ever tell you it's just another nature gone amok film because it's so much more!!
It's not often that the only two characters in a film are both absolutely loathsome human beings who are not falling in love or trying to salvage a relationship, but instead they're becoming more and more agitated with each other to the point of finding solace, maybe even pleasure, in describing the ways they have hurt each other in the past and how they plan to hurt each other in the future.
While the true nature of their marriage unfolds on what would normally be a quaint camping trip over a long weekend, they are shown disturbing and destroying the beautiful environment around them, they're toxic people and the audience believes this wholeheartedly, they may even find themselves rooting for their demise?
Briony Behets and John Hargreaves both gave solid performances that carried the film effortlessly, which is a major feat considering there were only a handful of peripheral characters in the beginning and end, so with their believable [non] chemistry at the forefront of what makes this film work so well, there was also the perfect amount of incredible locations, interesting cinematography, and adorable animals to round out this must-see piece of Australian cinema.
★★★★★ review by Kaijuman on Letterboxd
Apart from Possession (1981) this is the most unsettling movie I've watched.
A couple whose relationship is falling apart decide to spend a weekend camping at the beach to try and save their marriage. The only problem is, they're the most hateful characters I've seen. With no respect for their surroundings they litter and kills animals. The only thing they hate more than the environment is each other. They argue over the most mundane things and lash out with the cruelest remarks they think of just to hurt one-another.
If that wasn't enough to make this weekend seem long, Mother Nature herself may be trying to kill them. Strange occurrences keep happening and they only get more and more terrifying as the movie goes on. Animals start attacking randomly, a speargun fires with no one touching it, noises resembling a baby's cry haunt them at night, another campsite is found with no one around, and the corpse of a Dugong appears to be getting closer and closer to the leads campsite.
I'm not lying when I said this movie unsettled me. From the moment the couple leave civilization it's like they crossed into another dimension. Everything about the location feels...off. It looks normal, but nothing about this place feels right. The movie really does freak me out with the ocean sunk van and the moving Dugong corpse giving me shivers up my spine.
This is top-notch film making. The sound design is perfect, the acting is rightfully intense, the story is superb, I love it all. This is one of my top 70's horror movies, hell it might be one of my top horror movies in general.
If you haven't seen it, check it out. If you have, watch it again. Greatly Recommended.
★★★★★ review by Graham J on Letterboxd
A real 70's gem.
A couple who treat life and nature with as much apathy as they do each other, head out for a weekend away. While she wants a hotel and luxurious bottles of champagne, he wants the adventure of camping alongside wildlife by an apparently peaceful beach.
But nature has other ideas.....
No, this isn't The Happening but a seriously serious effort to make us all very scared indeed, first by getting them lost in the dark - then by introducing some horrific noises through the night.
The tension is ramped perfectly by its frightening sounds, barely lit skuttlings through the trees and that Dugong sub-plot is simply terrifying.
Thus, as our couple begin to fall further apart, as do our hopes that they'll ever make it out alive......
Long Weekend is an expertly crafted, minimilist adventure/horror yarn that deserves to be seen by many.
★★★★½ review by Steve G on Letterboxd
Long Weekend is my second slice of Ozploitation for this June marathon and while it is very different in terms of tone and quality from Dark Age, it does share a couple of the same ecological themes.
Whilst in Dark Age the message is rather hammered home through the presence of a giant crocodile and some sagely Aboriginal guides, Long Weekend is rather more subtle and even oblique with its message and plot. It was also another Australian box office flop, barely registering a ripple Down Under and once again, like the aforementioned film, getting noticed more or less on occasional TV showings alone. These days it is probably best known as the film that inspired the 2008 remake starring Jim Caviezel.
Its basic plot, of a bickering married couple (with pet dog in tow) opting for a weekend camping out in the Bush close to a beautiful but eerily deserted beach only to start wondering what the hell is going on when nature starts behaving very strangely indeed, has its obvious influences in The Birds and quite possibly even Picnic At Hanging Rock. In fact, I do wonder if the recent British horror film Eden Lake might owe a slight nod to it.
There are no rampaging chavs here, however. In fact, when I actually sat down and thought about it, very little ACTUALLY happens in Long Weekend. The odd strange event and one or two rather unexplainable occurrences aside, this is a film that, like Picnic At Hanging Rock, is all about atmosphere and making you think that you are seeing and hearing things that may or may not be there. Or making the main couple see and hear them.
Its strange and almost steadfastly non-committal story is utterly riveting from the moment that they arrive at wherever John Hargreaves seems to think they are. I was less interested, actually, in the basic 'nature fights back' story as Hargreaves and Briony Behets flick cigarette butts everywhere and basically make a mess of the joint. I was more interested in the way the film plays out its story by holding back on everything and showing you very little - including the twist near the end which is revealed only by virtue of the sun rising.
But there are also one or two almost supernatural occurrences that really do have you scratching your head - in a good way. It's said by so many people that films like this work so much better when you don't 'show the monster' and never has that fact been more apparent than here. The ending, meanwhile, is perhaps not exactly unpredictable in terms of what happens, but how it happens is an entirely different matter.
The central relationship is fascinating, too. In films like this, bickering couples are usually brought together by adversity but in this case their relationship actually deteriorates as the pressure surrounding them brings buried animosity and secrets to the surface. I think it's the mark of just how superb this film is that out of its ecological mystery thriller trappings it actually also manages to fashion one of the more believable and complex relationship dramas that I have seen for quite a while.
Not absolutely all of it works - one or two of the relationship revelations are slightly hysterically done and one or two bits of dialogue didn't quite convince. Plus, you might be left wanting more in terms of exactly what is going on when it comes to the more bizarre elements of the story. But this is, without question, somewhat of an absolutely cracking film, aided by two superbly pitched and convincing central performances.
Writer Everett De Roche wasn't happy with the finished film but, once again proving that us writers often don't know shit, he would try and rectify what he perceived to be problems with this original by penning the widely panned 2008 remake. He is somewhat of a dab hand at the ecology, wildlife and general outdoors thriller - Razorback, the excellent Link and Roadgames are just three of the other films he has written. For director Colin Eggleston, this was easily the pinnacle of his career.
That could be said for pretty much everyone involved, mind you. Long Weekend is terrific and easily one of the most surprisingly excellent films that I have seen for ages. YouTube the sucker today.
★★★★ review by DBC on Letterboxd
I love quiet movies with intense, knowing cinematography that covers the scenes like a hungry but patient vulture, making for a film that's an atmospheric slow burn. That's Long Weekend, a story of a married couple (Briony Behets & John Hargreaves) who seem to have reached an impasse in their relationship, the nature of which becomes clear during their camping trip that's the focal point of this film.
We watch them on their trip, their hostility towards each other frequently thick enough to cut with a knife, and we soon realize that someone else is watching them. But who? In addition to being harsh with each other, they're harsh to the world around them. Considerate environmentalists these two ain't, and it seems like nature is starting to bite back at them.
The film is built on a very thin premise, but it gets a lot of mileage from it thanks to the sharp performances from the two leads, cinematography which makes good use of the beach and outback setting, and some inspired sound design (loved how in one scene where an empty gas can is being filled at a station, the ambient audio seems to be coming from inside the can). Admittedly the film gets mired down as it goes along, but that's part of the point, and even then there's a lot of metaphorical unpacking you could be doing about what's really going on with this story.
While l don't think I agree with what it seems this film is trying to say, I still found the execution of it all to be interesting. This is a Horror film to be sure, but not your usual type: it's less Friday the 13th and more a 70's Australian take on Lars Von Trier's Antichrist. Keep your expectations low, and you might be surprised with all this film ends up delivering.
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