Friday, July 7, 2017

Film Review: Lake Mungo (2008)

Lake Mungo (Review)
Australia/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the type of the film that gets under your skin and leaves an impression."

A small family struggles to come to terms with the drowning death of their daughter...

Lake Mungo is a horror mockumentary. The plot details the drowning death of Alice Palmer and the subsequent events—some of which may have been supernatural. Family and friends are interviewed about their relationships with Alice. Alice's final moments—including elements of her hidden life—are also revealed. There really isn't much to talk about when it comes to the plot. It has some heavy themes, some twists and turns, and a few compelling characters, but there isn't much else to the story. I'm afraid if I said anything else I would be spoiling your experience. It leads to a deep but somewhat underwhelming ending.


I liked Lake Mungo. It's a poignant and creepy mockumentary. It kept me engaged through its mystery and characters. I wanted to know exactly what lead to Alice's death and what was happening in the Palmer household. Some of the revelations are disappointing and generic, but others are surprising and effective. In terms of horror, this isn't a jump-scare horror film. This film solely relies on its ominous atmosphere, eerie visuals, and sad plot. For the most part, it works. There are, however, a few moments where the film moves too slow for its own good, even as a slow-burn movie. It also feels like it's often being stretched for no other reason than to reach a 'feature-length' runtime. Other than that, I didn't have any significant issues with the film.

The acting was good. The cast performed better than most casts in found-footage/mockumentary films. The film was shot well, too. There are some scenes where it is difficult to see, but I suppose that's just a product of its time—cell phones didn't shoot 4k video in the 2000s, obviously. I liked the subtle music, too. The film was written and directed by Joel Anderson. Anderson performed well as both writer and director. Yes, some of the film was burdened with filler, but, for the most part, Anderson delivered a horror film with deep themes of grief. Unfortunately, Anderson hasn't directed anything since this film.

Overall, Lake Mungo is a very good horror movie. It's the type of the film that gets under your skin and leaves an impression. I had some issues with the pacing and the ending, but it ultimately entertained and disturbed. If you're looking for something a bit more serious than your typical horror film, this is worth viewing.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some disturbing images, some partial nudity.

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