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Sixteen-year-old ALICE PALMER drowns while swimming in the local dam. When her body is recovered and a verdict of accidental death returned, her grieving family buries her. The family then experiences a series of strange and inexplicable events centered in and around their home. Profoundly unsettled, the Palmers seek the help of psychic and parapsychologist, RAY KEMENY. Ray discovers that Alice led a secret, double life. A series of clues lead the family to Lake Mungo where Alice's secret past emerges. Lake Mungo is a mystery, a thriller and a ghost story. Written by
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Lake Mungo succeeds at being not only a chilling ghost story, but a film about grief
With all this hype about the good, yet overrated Paranormal Activity, Joel Anderson's debut film Lake Mungo lies forgotten. This is a total shame, seeing as this is much better, and way creepier. Lake Mungo really is a very simple film, it follows the Palmer family as they deal with the loss of Alice (their daughter/sister). It is filmed in a documentary style, in which the family/friends/work associates are interviewed by an unseen person, with pictures and video footage shown as well. Eventually we discover Alice had many secrets, and the family try to find out about them and if they had anything to do with her passing.
The plot does not sound enticing, in fact, it sounds rather plain, however, this is not case fortunately. The documentary style really suits the film, and the actors are incredible and almost seem like they are not acting at all. The scares spaced throughout are genuinely freaky, and really got under my skin. Anderson makes sure the atmosphere is kept dense throughout the whole film, making every minute feel ominous. However, Lake Mungo does not just focus on the horror, but also how the family deals with the grief, and what they are willing to believe and do to help each other and themselves. The scenes in between the supernatural images and occurrences focus on how each family member (and some friends) deal with all that happens, and it is done in a refreshingly realistic (not over-blown, sentimental, or dramatic) way. There are a few twists along the way, and the final scene is very well-done, and will stay with you for a long time. Do yourself a favour, go see this movie, support movies which are actually good and don't rely on cheap scares. Recently my awesome homeland have been releasing some damn good horror movies (see Wolf Creek, Rogue, Black Water, Dying Breed, Lucky Country) and Lake Mungo is one of the best.
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