Long Weekend (1978)

I wanted to like this one rather more than I think I did. Cos Australia doesn’t really do horror, for whatever reason, so this is a relatively rare example… and it looks awesome in the trailer; let’s face it, once you see that you want to see the film itself. And then when you do, you realise, hmmmm, this film isn’t quite the film that the trailer promised. In subgenre terms, it’s an example of the “nature run amok” (or some variant of those words) film, I suppose Hitchcock pretty much pioneered it with The Birds back in 1963, and the name of the subgenre is pretty self-explanatory. Long Weekend does pretty much conform to the template—story about a couple who go camping and find themselves beset by hostile Nature with a capital N determined to eradicate them for some reason—and it’s another in a reasonably long line of Australian films dealing with the notion of the Australian bush as something alien and inimical to Us White Folks. But, as this piece observes, the film actually has higher things on its mind than just being a straight genre film, and those higher things are manifested in the basic viciousness of the couple at the heart of the story, not only towards nature but towards each other; and arguably, the latter may be worse because it’s deliberate as opposed to their unthinking attacks on nature. I think this other piece may overstate the abortion aspect a bit as the ostensible reason for Nature losing its shit at them (as if the other things they do weren’t reason enough), but it is interesting to consider in the light of the film’s “their crime was against nature” advertising tagline, suggesting as it does an agenda which is ultimately quite conservative (and specifically targeted at that). That doesn’t bother me overmuch, but I think I’d still rather have had the film the trailer suggested it would be; that might’ve been more effective and interesting than how it actually turned out.

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