Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Australia, 1978. Dugong Films. Screenplay by Everett De Roche. Cinematography by Vincent Monton. Produced by Colin Eggleston. Music by Michael Carlos. Production Design by Lawrence Eastwood. Costume Design by Kevin Regan. Film Editing by Brian Kavanagh.
Nature takes revenge when an urban couple (Briony Behets, John Hargreaves) try to heal the rift in their crumbling marriage by enjoying a camping vacation on the beach. Getting to their destination is fraught with setbacks which they don’t realize are serving as warnings as they carelessly throw cigarette butts out their car window or runn over kangaroos, then when they arrive at their destination they find themselves in a beautiful but desolate shore haunted by the sounds of angry animals, mysterious figures in the water and more than a few strange, near fatal mishaps. It’s possible that their careless behaviour, leaving garbage everywhere on their camp site and shooting at every animal they can possibly see, has awakened a vengeful force in the flora and fauna around them (and, much like the contemporary atmospheric drama Picnic At Hanging Rock, it’s also possible to read an anti-colonial narrative into their fate as well). Their imbalance with nature is compounded by their own disharmony with each other, having moments of affection that are always undone by poor communication and a lack of empathy that seems to be as responsible for bringing about the trauma of their experience in the final third as anything else. This is a superb, thrilling chamber piece whose atmospheric cinematography is as riveting as the performances and director Colin Eggleston’s perpetual sense of moody, chilling mystery.