Happy Valentine’s Day internet people! Slick Dungeon here, back to review another movie for you. It’s Valentine’s day but that doesn’t mean you have to watch some sappy romantic movie to have a good time. I’ve got an oddly creepy film for you this time. I watched Picnic at Hanging Rock which is about a group of girls who go missing on St. Valentine’s Day in 1900. There will be mild spoilers ahead so if that sort of thing breaks your heart, watch the movie and come on back here to read the review.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian film from 1975. It’s a period piece adapting a novel of the same name as the film. At the time it came out it was a commercial and critical success and brought some attention to the film scene in Australia at the time.
As far as the plot goes, it’s not complex. There is a private girls’ school called Appleyard College. Each year the school allows the girls to go on a picnic to a local mountain named Hanging Rock with some interesting geological features. One girl, named Sara has to stay behind at the school with the headmistress. Everyone else leaves to have a good time. In the carriage ride over, the girls are told the mountain is around a million years old, and there are deadly snakes and ants they need to watch out for.
Once on the mountain the picnic starts and eventually a group of four girls decide to go exploring on their own. This group of girls goes up the mountain but only one comes back. And when she comes back she’s screaming and unaware of what exactly happened.
The rest of the movie is spent figuring out just what happened. A teacher who went to find this girls is also missing and there are some observers who might well be suspected of wrongdoing.
That’s most of the plot in a nutshell but there is an incredibly menacing tone throughout. It almost feels as if Hanging Rock is alive and seemed to be waiting for these girls. It’s also a very, very, slow burn. The pacing is decidedly slow, even for a movie made in 1975. This does add to some of the menace but it makes it a little hard to get through. There is something hypnotic about the movie though and there are some unsettling scenes. There’s no major gore or anything like that to speak of. Jump scares are not at play here either. It just makes you feel overall uncomfortable watching.
It’s an interesting little film and if you need something to watch related to Valentine’s day but you don’t want to watch a cheesy romance, this might be a good pick for you.