laird’s review published on Letterboxd:
I got Twin Peaks vibes from this with the moody, mysterious, inscrutable forces surrounding women in trouble, the men obsessed with them, and some dialog that could be from either work: "All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream" (which I looked up and it's a line from a Poe poem, apparently) and most notably a line that could be from The Return, "Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place."
Though where Twin Peaks is a story of trauma reverberating through a community (and possibly time and space), Picnic seems to be more concerned with repression and the impending trauma that comes with loss of innocence (or in this case literal loss of innocents!). The word "rape" is only spoken once, but it hangs over the disappearance, slithers beneath the scene in which the two young men watch the young women crossing a stream, and manifests itself subtly a few times when a doctor assures everyone that certain women have returned from the bush "intact." Homosexuality is also never directly addressed, but through the Sarah character we see that even an innocent school girl crush is met with threats of institutionalization from the rigid school matriarch: the psychic corset of violent repression.
Like the Buñuelian image of ants swarming the tea cake, nature will prevail over bourgeois society by attrition and death and decay. In summary: eat trash, be free. Leave your corset on the rock.