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.

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This 2008 film, has only just made it to the UK, but has been available online for a while, following the Palmer family as they come to terms with the death of their daughter Alice, who drowned accidentally in a local reservoir, during a family day trip, but as the family slowly come to terms with the death, strange occurrences start to plague the family, making them second guess themselves and suspect that Alice is trying to tell them something from beyond the grave.

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Lake Mungo is made up from 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 relaying on a psychic for answers and setting up film cameras, in an attempt to understand what is going on in their home, with the Alice’s father Russell (David Pledger) burying himself in work and her mother June (Rosie Traynor) , convincing herself that her daughter isn’t really 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 seemingly 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 Lake Mungo.

Lake Mungo isn’t an 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 love 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 it’s 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.

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Lake Mungo isn’t a popcorn horror movie, the kind you put on when your 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 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 everyones 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.

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