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After "Blair Witch Project" the scary "mocumentary" business went through the roof. Ten years later, the trend is still going strong, with at least a couple dozen films with the same concept of hand-held terror. "Lake Mungo" is by far the best since "Blair Witch". It accomplishes much more than this year's other big effort, "Paranormal Activity", which, I found rather tame at best. Played almost as a television news special, "Lake Mungo" is the most believable entry thus far. The downplayed, monotone performances of the actors is very effective. The naturalism they maintain only adds more edge and anxiety to the story. And speaking of story, unlike most of the other first person horror movies, "Lake Mungo" actually has a good one. It's an honest mystery, full of secrets and lies, wrapped around a paranormal thriller. It has enough twists, turns and enough surprises/scares to keep anyone's attention. Rarely have I experienced so many chills in one sitting. Don't wait for the Hollywood re-make already in the works, there's no need, the Australians got it right the first time (unlike you, Hollywood.) Don't miss one of the best horror films of 2009.
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
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.
I was really surprised by this Aussie movie... I expected a straight
forward ghost movie and at first you kind of get what you expect....
except for that the movie is entirely shot in the style of a TV
documentary featuring mostly interviews with eyewitnesses, some old
family video footage etc. mixed to a typical TV collage style. Funny
thing is... this works damn good and is even more thrilling than your
average ghost movie. The atmosphere is really dense and even though you
barely see anything than blurry photos I was pretty creeped out in the
first half of the movie.
The basic plot is about a family who loses their daughter on a swimming trip. Some time later the dead body is found but especially the mother finds no closure and soon strange things happen in their house. Its all the typical restless ghost haunting a house story but damn is it effective... and even better, half way into the movie the ghost thing gets dropped when some rather earthly explanations start to surface and the family looks deeper into the last weeks of her daughters life. Its all driving serpentine and when you think this is just a psychological movie it takes another turn back to the ghost story. The finale really gets you and leaves a lot of gaps for your mind to fill but thats what I really liked about the movie. Its a damn creepy ghost movie that makes you think and it throws you curve balls right until the credits roll. Forget all that Asian rip-off ghost stuff and give Lake Mungo a try... I doubt you will be disappointed.
LAKE MUNGO might sound like a teen flick or some camping murder spree so let me tell you clearly that this clever film is not another one of those. LAKE MUNGO is a tiny budget ghost thriller with about 4 major sequences I personally found terrifying. Actually frightening. Yes. The premise is this: a nice ordinary family in a rural town are heartbroken when their 15 year old daughter drowns at a family picnic. About a month later they realize her spirit is in her room at home and as a ghost she wanders through the house at night. The film is actually about the mind bending emotions the family experience in missing their beloved daughter but not wanting her as a ghost. And then the genuinely scary stuff starts. It is not a violent movie, nor is it a Blair Witch wannabee, it is a melancholy ghost movie with a terrific emotional dilemma and absolutely hair raising fright scenes. They film is made to resemble a 60 Minutes investigation... and uses home movies, call phone camera scenes and séances mixed with psychological settings and tape-recording confessions. I had no idea what was going to happen next and the revelations both visually and in the plot twists are astonishing. LAKE MUNGO has already been bought for a US remake but this little indie original from Australia is the real deal: a genuinely scary ghost film like THE SIXTH SENSE or the 1961 film THE INNOCENTS. I actually yelped several times in fright. And yelping is not my regular reaction. LAKE MUNGO in its present version might turn up in a horror fest near you and if you see it mis-labeled you will find it is the surprise of the event. EEK ! Remember the original 1980 film THE CHANGELING with George C Scott? Well it is as spooky as that.
For once, in a long time, I am actually pleased by a horror flick.
This movie is something completely different then the "nonsense horror" Hollywood is producing. It's not just a pile of dead bodies, a pool of blood and sadistic bad guy, as we see most nowadays. But it is recognisable, real and relatable. which makes it all the more scary.
In the average Hollywood horror flick, you are confronted with so many dead people and bloody situation that you get some sort of immunity to it.You cannot really transfer yourself in the situation of the lead character, because it's so overreacted and terrible, that you can't even imagine yourself being in that position.
This movie, however, felt real! And that was clearly the intention. You won't be wasting your time, by watching this wonderful Australian movie.
As a fan of psychological horror films, I'm so glad to have stumbled across this little gem in my local rental store. The movie pulls you in, to the point where I did a google search to double check that it wasn't a real documentary. It helps a great deal that there are no big name actors, or over-the-top special effects. Alice's family and friends really come across as people who are not only struggling to get past their loss, but aren't sure how, or even if it's okay to. The flat affect of her parents, particularly,reminded me of real people I've encountered while working in a hospital, who are, in a lot of ways, still in shock long after the loss itself. If you like your horror exclusively blood and gore, or need big Hollywood special effects to enjoy a movie, you will undoubtedly be disappointed, but for anyone who appreciates films that slowly get under your skin, and stay with you long after the end credits, Lake Mungo is a must-see.
Lake Mungo is an excellent documentary-style ghost story from
Australia. It was quite different from what I expected. This isn't
Paranormal Activity, despite the vaguely similar premise. It's
primarily about the story of a family who has lost a loved one and
can't let her go. This is much closer to a paranormal
triller/supernatural drama than a horror movie.
Recalled mainly through interviews, camera, and cell phone footage, Lake Mungo is about an Australian family named the Palmer's. Teenage daughter Alice is lost in a drowning accident while on a family outing in 2005. After her death, they still sense her presence in their home, and shadowy images of her begin to show up in photos. Revealing any more of the story than that would be a disservice.
Kudos to the absolutely excellent acting from the relatively (at least, for this American) unknown cast. This is one of the more "real" feeling fiction documentaries that I've ever seen. This a lot of the reason Lake Mungo was so immersive to me. All the characters seemed like completely genuine people. This almost could have been a documentary that I stumbled upon while flipping through the channels.
This is probably one of the creepiest movies I've seen since The Others. Very unsettling. Not a lot of big chills and shocks, but it slowly builds an unsettling sense of atmosphere and dread of the unnatural and unknown, along with an unexpected but welcome mystery element. The plot goes a lot of places that might not be expected. At it's heart, Lake Mungo is also a quite sad movie. It was easy for me to believe that these people had lost a beloved daughter, sister, and friend, long before her time.
If you're looking for a pure, jump out of your seat popcorn horror flick, this isn't it. I happen to think it's something more interesting than that, though. A movie that sets out to do something different, and does it very well. I loved it. I haven't been this pleasantly surprised by a movie since Triangle.
So I am:
Totally kicking myself for watching this right before bed. I'm so scared, but it was absolutely worth watching. I am normally a boss when it comes to scary movies, however this particular movie has some twists and turns that make you think about it for hours after. It starts out slow and steady letting you in on the back story of the family and what has happened. The whole film is shot documentary style with interviews etc.(and let me just say, that if I didn't know this movie was a "mock" horror or whatever you call it, I would have been pet-ri-fied) haha.
I was a little iffy:
After the first major twist (if you will), but I promise, keep watching because the end is worth the wait. I feel like I want to tell people all about this underrated movie and how it made me feel right now, but it's late so I'll wait and just tell all you movie people who read reviews to just go watch it, in the dark. Don't be a pansy.
One of the best I've seen recently...it's hard to come by good horror especially ghost stories, but this one was actually pretty good. I like when I come across something unexpected. 8.5/10 Stars.
Read all my reviews at http://dianalynn5287.blogspot.com/
Well the movie itself has some flaws. It has some parts that is really
unnecessary. But the allover story is really interesting.
It is one of the slowest horror/mystery movies I've seen, but i think that it benefits from it. The scares are mostly...not really scares, but they will get you goosebumps for sure. But you really have to stay the entire movie to get the entire thing. The end is what made it for me. People are comparing it to paranormal activity, and I get that, but the matter a fact is that these two movies are not very similar, the only thing really is that they use some home movie style footage.
Anyway, its a good movie if you like slow movies, and good scares. But its no movie theater material.
I really enjoyed "Lake Mungo". It's a basic ghost story structured like
a mockumentary. An Australian teenager named Alice drowns while
swimming in a lake. After her death, her family (mom, dad, and younger
brother) try to cope with her loss. Dad hides in his work, mom suffers
from nightmares and guilt that she wasn't emotionally there for Alice
while she was alive, and younger brother focuses on his photography
Strange things start to happen around the house and the family begins to hear sounds at night. They decide to call in a psychic researcher for help. I won't reveal any more but I will say the film is basically one long, creepy slow-burn up to one heck of scary moment. Seriously. I watch a lot of horror films (and I do mean A LOT) and I honestly cannot remember the last time a horror film actually scared me. It's probably been at least ten years. Well, this film did. I think that's recommendation enough.
I give "Lake Mungo" a 9 instead of a 10 because I think the story has one glaring problem. I'm not giving away anything by saying this but I think the writer/director tried to fit much extraneous story into too little time. There is one entire section of the film that probably should have been tossed. But that's just my personal opinion.
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