Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 331: Long Weekend (1978) - Rank 4.5/5


This is yet another film I wish I had seen when I was younger - and not because it's a children's film. "Long Weekend," if it could be categorized, would best fall into the "animal attack" genre. I've long been a fan of such films and that fandom was sparked by "Day of the Animals." I first saw William Girdler's macabre commentary on the problem of depleting ozone levels during "Super Scary Saturday" on TBS (a venue for drive-in B-movies from the 1960's and 1970's, hosted by Al Lewis in Grandpa Munster guise). While most kids would be traumatized by an R-rated depiction of a group of campers being attacked by everything int eh woods, save the kitchen sink, I totally dug it. Colin Eggleston's "Long Weekend" goes a step further - he throws in the kitchen sink.

Not only are opossums and hawks the creatures antagonizing a vacationing couple, but even the very trees seem to be striking out. The organisms never move as Enths do, but branches falls off at coincidental moments. On the surface, the film seems a clear-cut "nature takes its revenge" storyline. Peter and Marcia spray insecticides around their camping area, plow through the underbrush in their four-wheeler, shoot a duogong for shits and giggles, etc. and the assault is justice on the part of the forest. However, below that, there are a lot of strange elements that seem almost contrary to that simple plot. There's a crossbow that fires by an unseen hand, the cries of the duogong continue after its death until its body appears on the edge of the camp, a submerged bus with the corpse of a young woman rests a quarter mile from the shore. These items are never explained, nor are they explored, sowing a sense of distrust between the audience and the film. Is there something going on beyond the forest striking back that the victims and the viewers cannot comprehend, or are the campers simply going mad? This pushes the film more into the realm of "Polanski thriller" than mere B-horror. An arthouse animal attack film, is you will.

Watch the Trailer

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