Film Review | Lake Mungo

Not really paid much attention to Australian horror until after seeing this movie I have discovered all that A-horror has to offer.


Director: Joel Anderson

Starring: Talia Zucker, Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe

Genre: Horror/Mocumentary

Release Date: June 18th 2008

Certificate: 15

The Palmer family are coming to terms with the death of their daughter Alice, who drowned accidentally in a local reservoir during a family trip, but as the family slowly recover from her sudden death, strange occurrences plague the family members, making them second guess themselves and suspect that maybe Alice is trying to tell them something from beyond the grave.

Lake Mungo comprises interviews from the family and friends of Alice, each giving their own take on what happened in the Palmer household, mixed with home videos and photographs, rather than going for a found footage Paranormal Activity rip off,  director Joel Anderson instead makes a film more in a faux-documentary style, showing the family fall apart, resorting to relying on a psychic for answers and setting up film cameras, to understand what is going on in their home, with Alice’s father Russell (Pledger) burying himself in work and her mother June (Traynor), convincing herself that her daughter isn’t dead, her bother Matthew clinging to the presence he believes to be his sister, but all of this changes after the first major twist, when some truths about Alice’s normal life, come to light, the local community is ripped apart by revelations and Alice’s feeling that she isn’t long for this world, after a school trip to the Lake Mungo.

Lake Mungo isn’t a 100% horror film, instead, it is an interesting look at a 16-year-old girl trying to come to terms with her mortality, with the feeling something bad is going to happen to her, coupled with a family attempting to cope with the untimely death of a loved one and attempting to find out what exactly happened to her on that school trip, Anderson makes this simple premise that could of so easily become a lot like many other found footage films that have come out since Blair Witch, into something more unique and just when you think you know what really went on, the story takes a turn, by showing you an image or a piece of footage that flips it right on its head, this continues right up until the closing credits, when you see a series of image, including the two shown here, that include things that you weren’t expecting, making this a must-watch twice movie.

Lake Mungo isn’t a popcorn horror movie, the kind you put on when you’re with your mates, it instead more of a slow burner, filled with atmospheric images and subtle plot twists, which makes it best watched when you have time to pay attention to two, otherwise you might miss a something that changes what you think you knew or spooky image hidden in a picture, Lake Mungo isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea for that exact reason, if you prefer your horror more like Saw or Scream, then this isn’t the one for you, but if you enjoy well written, well-acted and well-developed films, with a hint of the supernatural, then this is the film for you, especially if like me, was a fan of the 90’s television program Strange But True.

If you liked: Paranormal Activity, Room 237, The Last Broadcast


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