Long Weekend (1978)

After watching Wake in Fright I was pretty insistent that our follow-up film should be Long Weekend, another Aussie “horror” film. This time, though, it’s not the locals to worry about, it’s nature herself!

Long Weekend centers around Peter and Marcia, a married couple experiencing some serious issues. It’s clear straight from the beginning they pretty actively dislike each-other. So what’s a couple that hates each-other to do on a holiday weekend? Peter & Marcia had planned to spend it with another couple, but bow out at the last minute favoring a “long weekend” alone with each-other on a remote beach.

The couple drives through the night, barely speaking to each-other, in search of the beach. When Peter stops off to buy beer, he asks the locals how close they are. The locals have no idea what “beach” he’s talking about. Considering how nasty Marcia’s been lately, it’s understandable why Peter opts to keep her out of the loop and drives along, telling her they’re almost there.

They drive through mud and brush until they finally give up, saying they’ll find the right spot in the morning. Marcia wakes up to a fully-erect tent, and Peter chopping down a tree because, well, “why not?” As the day wears on, the couple’s assault on nature continues: Peter shoots blindly into the water and tosses a beer bottle into the ocean, Marcia mercilessly sprays insecticide on invading ants and steals an eagle egg, oddly cradling it and carrying it all over the place.

Tensions between the couple mount, and we get some hints as to why there’s so much marital strife. Aside from their internal issues, the couple starts to feel very strange about their environment for the weekend: a harpoon gun accidentally goes off and nearly takes off Marcia’s head, a just-defrosted chicken grows mold, and an eagle attacks Peter.

This is another movie that kept me thinking what the fuck is going on here? Marcia and Peter are both pretty despicable people, not just in how they treat each-other, but also in their blatant disregard for their environment. Watching nature wreak havoc on them is pretty enjoyable. Similar to Wake in Fright, the landscape is its own character, here with its own motives. The movie maintains a very subtle tone that keeps you wondering, and I dig that.


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