Directed and written by Joel Anderson, Lake Mungo handles the subject of grief and a family’s hope for afterlife very well.
Recalled mainly through interviews, camera shots, and cell phone footage Lake Mungo tells the tragic story of sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer, played by Talia Zucker, who drowned while swimming in the town’s local dam. What seems like an open and shut case of accidental death, is turned upside down with the start of strange events within her family home.
Her mother June (Rosie Traynor), father Russell (David Pledger) and brother Mathew (Martin Sharpe) begin to believe these paranormal events around the house are Alice trying to contact them in some way. They seek help from psychic and parapsychologist Ray Kemeny, who discovers that Alice led a secret, double life. A series of clues around her bedroom and phone videos lead the family back to Lake Mungo and Alice’s secret past begins to emerge.
The ghostly suggestions never overpower the film and the story retains its dominant theme of grief and the process of grieving, producing some genuine shockers.
Lake Mungo slowly builds an unsettling sense of atmosphere and dread of the unnatural and unknown, along with an unexpected but welcome mystery elements. The plot heads to some unexpected places.
The acting in this mockumentary seems completely genuine and if you didn’t know it was a film and just happened to stumble across it, you could be forgiven for thinking it was real.
There are a couple of moments in the movie that could’ve been built up and expressed more but they were dropped to the sidelines once mentioned and I would’ve like to have found out more, which is one negative I do have regarding this film.
If you’re looking for a pure, jump out of your seat horror flick, this isn’t it, but fans of psychological horror should enjoy Lake Mungo with its spooky and satisfying mood and great twists!
WICKED RATING: 6/10 [usr 6]
Title: Lake Mungo
Director(s): Joel Anderson
Writer(s): Joel Anderson
Stars: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker
Studio/ Production Co: Mungo Productions, Screen Australia, SBS Independent
Budget: $1,400,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Drama, Mystery