Edinburgh International Film Festival

Long Weekend (2009)

Starring: Jim Caviezel, Claudia Karvan

Directed by: Jamie Blanks

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Jim Caviezel in Aussie eco horror Long Weekend

You've heard of regional horror/rural gothic (or at least you will have if you read my reviews regularly) but now we have a new genre: eco horror.

Peter and Carla are one of those couples who must have had a reason to get married at some point but have now forgotten what that reason was. Peter (Jim Caviezel) is a city wideboy who believes he can tackle the great outdoors by investing in £10,000 worth of camping equipment, while Carla (Claudia Karvan) is a five star hotel kinda gal who believes the outdoors ain't so great and is best left alone. Wise girl. But Peter is determined that the couple can rekindle their love on a long weekend trip to an isolated beach in the middle of nowhere. Foolish man.

As Peter starts bushfires with his discarded cigarette butts, casts aside plastic bags, lobs glass bottles into the sea and shoots indiscriminately at everything in sight, Carla sprays ant repellent liberally into the undergrowth and chucks soapsuds into the ground, before retiring to the tent to apply lipgloss and sulk. Peter in particular is so unpleasant you can't wait for bad things to start happening to him – and fortunately you don't have too long to wait.

At first it all seems a bit obvious, as nature starts to fight back: Peter's stalked in the water by a mysterious dark shape then attacked by an eagle and threatened by a snake. But in fact the real danger posed to the spoilt city couple comes from within, and ultimately it's their own selfishness and aggression, aggravated by an increasingly strange and frightening environment, that proves their downfall.

Like fellow Aussie horror flick Lost Things, Long Weekend creates a sinister sense of eerie claustrophobia in a seemingly idyllic, untouched location, adroitly building up tension as things get weirder and creepier. It may not be as scary as Wolf Creek and there are no huge surprises in store, but all in all, it's well worth playing heed to this movie with a message.

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