Today I decided to catch up on an old Australian horror movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while. Directed by Colin Eggleston (“Cassandra”, “The Wicked”) “Long Weekend” was released back in 1978.
A couple whose marriage is in under strain, Peter (John Hargreaves – “Hoodwink”, “Emerald City”) and Marcia (Briony Behets – “Inside Looking Out”, “The Trespassers”), pack up their Nissan jeep and set out on a camping trip, along with their dog, on a Friday evening for a long weekend to a remote beach.
On the way there Peter throws a cigarette out of the window, causing a fire, and later runs over and kills a kangaroo. Eventually the pair find themselves in lost deep in the woods at night, unable to find the beach, which is situated near an old abattoir.
The next morning Marcia wakes to find that Peter has located the beach and made camp nearby. He has started to chop down a tree. When Marcia asks why, his response is simply “why not?”. Marcia starts to get spooked by sounds she hears in the surrounding landscape, which sound eerily human.
Peter begins to shoot his newly purchased rifle indiscriminately around the area and Marcia destroys an eagle egg by throwing it at a tree. These are just some of the ways that the fractured couple treat the natural world around them with total disdain.
When they’re not mistreating mother nature, the couple spend much of the time at each other’s throats. We learn that Marcia has had an affair with a friend of the pair, and had an abortion. There are times when the couple’s passion reignites in a passionate way but it’s never long before the pain and resentments that they both feel surfaces and envelops them in tension once more.
Eventually Marcia has had enough and takes the jeep, leaving Peter at their campsite with the dog. As darkness falls once more it seems that Mother Nature has begun to fight back…
Both Hargreaves and Behets are excellent in their portrayal of Peter and Marcia. The characters are thoroughly unlikeable, whilst being totally believable as a warring couple too wrapped up in their own individual concerns to give much thought to anyone, or anything, else – and it’s this that ultimately leads to the couple’s downfall.
This is an unusual film, insofar as there isn’t a villain as such, although Mother Nature demonstrates that she isn’t to be messed with! With great camera work and evocative use of the natural surroundings, Eggleston’s film feels almost too real sometimes. This is a very good atmospheric and at times eerie horror film with a superbly depicted relationship drama aspect adding to the overall tragedy.
Track it down and give it a viewing. It may give you pause to think about your relationship with nature. It may not. Either way, I don’t think you will be disappointed…