Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Long Weekend (1978)





Long Weekend might just be the best Ozploitation film ever. It's certainly the best I've seen thus far. Which makes it all the more frustrating and unjust that this splendid ecological chiller seems largely forgotten.

In Not Quite Hollywood, the excellent documentary film on Australian cinema, it's suggested that Long Weekend, with it's message of nature being extremely dangerous, didn't do very good business in its native land; because it was a message Australians were all too aware of. It seemed to have done rather well internationally before being forgotten about, the oft tale of many a low budget non American exploitation feature.




The story, by Ozploitation regular Everett De Roche, is a simple one; a suburban couple, in the death throes of their marriage and played by John Hargreaves and Briony Behets (the British expat actress who looks not unlike a combination of Michelle Dotrice and Julie Christie) go camping at a remote beach out in the sticks for a weekend, only to find that their ignorance and disregard for the environment around them means payback from a distinctly unaccomodating Mother Nature.




De Roche, a self confessed fan of Hitchcock, produces a supremely well crafted script which builds the tension and strangeness of the piece as well as 'The Master' might, and there's more than a nod to The Birds in some scenes. The low budget never really  impacts on the film, proving that well judged sound effects and soundtracks (an excellent one composed by Michael Carlos) alongside clever camerawork and direction, make for perfectly acceptable chills in a way that CGI and OTT gore could never hope to achieve. This is a traditional intelligent 'horror' story with a sense of dread, strangeness and wonder that attacks the senses. 

Cannily, the script never attempts to explain the situation that the couple find themselves in and indeed the reason for their fractious, unhappy relationship is only slowly drawn out and revealed during the course of this essentially two handed film.

In conclusion I thoroughly recommend this film and shudder to think what  the recent Hollywood remake is like *yawn* Please watch this version!



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