In sum, a romantic mystery coupled with its personal and practical aftermath, as those left behind cope with the fate of four college girls who, on Valentine's Day, 1900, during an outing to Hanging Rock, a volcanic formation in Australia, wended their way toward the top of the rock, where three of them disappeared and the fourth ran away screaming. The larger portion -- the investigation and the differing ways the tragedy affects the lives of those touched by it -- is well-constructed to maintain suspense, but frankly it isn't what makes this movie so haunting and so memorable. That distinction belongs to the first third of the film, recounting the mystery itself, which Weir evokes with rare poetry: a combination of gorgeous photography, portentous atmosphere, and pointed (if yet ambiguous) dialogue. Based on a novel (by Joan Lindsay), but not an actual event.
"Horror...may be a warm sunny day. the innocence of girlhood and hints of unexplored sexuality that combine to produce a euphoria so intense it becomes transporting, a state beyond life or death." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times, February 23, 1979
"Russell Boyd's cinematography unfolds in a series of images so lush and chimerical that they seem less the product of his camera than the result of brush-strokes by the elder Renoir." - Ed Roginski, Film Quarterly, Summer, 1979