Synapse is one of the most reliable cult movie labels when it comes to the quality of transfers, particularly its blu-ray releases. Label founder Don May Jr. is famously meticulous when it comes to the transfers on his discs: even when Synapse is doing a high-def update of an older title, they can still be relied upon to put in the extra effort that genre fans appreciate. The latest example of Synapse doing this is their recent blu-ray release of Long Weekend, which offers a sterling A/V update for a key title from their repertoire.
The transfer is, in a word, gorgeous. The atmosphere of Long Weekend leans heavily on the sumptuous outdoor photography of Vincent Monton and that asset comes through beautifully here: the beachside vistas leap off the screen with all sorts of rich textures, vivid colors and the detail of the landscapes is lifelike. It’s hard to imagine this low-budget but well-shot film looking better than it does here.
Both 2.0 mono and 5.1 stereo remix tracks are provided here in lossless form to accompany the transfer. The 5.1 track was listened to for this film and it does a nice job of creating a subtly creepy multi-channel experience that matches the film’s mood nicely.
This blu-ray release also carries over the handful of extras that appeared on the old Synapse DVD. The first and most substantial is a commentary track that pairs executive producer Richard Brennan with Monton. They discuss why they chose to shoot the film in the anamorphic format and the different technical challenges that entailed as well offering background on director Colin Eggleston and revealing why the film’s two leads were chosen. There’s also some interesting details on how the convincing animal-attack scenes were shot.
The next extra is a motion photo gallery that runs just under five minutes and is accompanied by an interview with actor John Hargreaves from 1995. Hargreaves passed away the next year so it’s nice to have this bit of audio preserved: in it, he discusses how he learned to be natural and truthful on camera. The images offer some neat insights into the shooting of the film, including images of the crew at work and a funny picture of Hargreaves posing with his own stunt-dummy. The package is rounded out by the original theatrical trailer, which avoids the film’s relationship drama angle to pitch it as a straightforward revenge-of-nature horror flick.
All in all, this is a fine update of one of the cult favorites in Synapse’s catalog. Any horror fan who takes their high-def seriously will appreciate the impressive work the label does here.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Long Weekend, click here.