Lake Mungo (2008) Poster


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Lake Mungo succeeds at being not only a chilling ghost story, but a film about grief
LoneWolfAndCub3 February 2010
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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excellent movie
barbara-oiler27 August 2010
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.
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The best of the trendy Horror "Mockumentaries"
s_twcramer21 December 2009
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.
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Potential squandered
jtindahouse12 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a big fan of Australian horror movies. I don't like a lot of things they do but horror is one of the few exceptions. 'Lake Mungo' was a very frustrating film for me. There was so much to like about, so much that it did well, and yet for every stride forward it took, it seemed to take two backwards. It was its own worst enemy. Unfortunately I have to go into some spoilers in order to explain the things I didn't like about the film.

First of all the twist about the photos being doctored by the brother. Why did it need to be there? What did it add to the film? All it did was deflate the well created tension to that point. I assume it was so they could hit you with the one-two punch later in the film that it was actually all real (what a remarkable coincidence!) but I didn't like that addition to the film at all.

The other thing that let me down was that twice the film set itself to take my breathe away and both times it struck out. The first time was when the neighbour was found to be in the house. That alone was truly unnerving and could have led down so many creepy roads. But instead it just turned out she was having an affair with the neighbours and that storyline went absolutely nowhere.

Then, late in the piece a plot element arrives where we learn something has happened to 'Alice' at 'Lake Mungo'. Now obviously considering they decided to name the film after this location it must be something pretty massive right? Well it was and it wasn't. It was arguably the biggest moment in the film, and yet it really wasn't enough to justify naming the movie after that I thought. It implied that what happened there was the be-all end-all. Maybe they just couldn't think of a title and decided to go with that, I'm not sure. But I feel that moment would have been a lot more powerful if the movie wasn't named after that location.

Don't think it's all negative though, there were actually a lot of very strong elements to the film. It was suitably creepy in spots, the endless photos were well created and kept you on edge and the big moment that happens at 'Lake Mungo' will stick with you for a while. I just can't help feeling it could have been something great.
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A movie that leaves a feeling.
roelsemail31 August 2010
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.
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Kicking myself...
BeautifulDisaster528714 March 2011
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'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
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A completely unexpected gem.
lewiskendell16 April 2011
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.
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A movie that actually scared me
arne-adam7 May 2010
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.
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a unique little movie
dschmeding19 December 2009
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.
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Don't be fooled by overly enthusiastic reviews
vladimirpolaski13 June 2018
I've literally googled the entire web to see a single evidence of why this is so "scary", "unsettling", "creepy", etc. and all I've found so far are people making esoteric comments like "this was a beautiful tale about ...", "this kept me scared as hell.." etc.

I literally finished watching after 3 attempts. The first time I literally fell asleep (I never fell asleep during movies, this was the first time)

The second time I really got bored and switched to watching something else.

The third time I really decided to carve out 90 minutes of my life and really dedicate to finishing the film because I've been reading so many raving reviews online about it.

I really tried. All the way till the end. It was really difficult because the whole movie was very convoluted, slow paced (I don't think I've ever watched such a needlessly slow paced film before), and too many plot holes that made me unable to appreciate it.

For starters, even before we get to whether this is a "scary" movie or not, I can confidently say that it's a "badly directed" movie. Most of the plots the director throw at you are completely unrelated and convoluted and totally unnecessary. This makes it really hard for me to focus on the film, especially considering how slow the movie was. The rabid fans will call it "slow burn", but NO. I've watched tons of slow burn movies, and I appreciate a well made slow burn movie when I see one. This wasn't one. This was just slow, badly directed movie.

And as for the "scary", "unsettling", "creepy" part, I don't know what you guys are smoking, but there are way more scary unsettling and creepy movies out there. I love watching horror and thrillers. One of the most frequent responses I see online when somebody complains about this movie is a bunch of haters saying "huh you just have bad taste in horror, it's not the movie", "nah if you like THAT kind of 'horror' movies, just go watch freddie krueger", all of which are super pretentious and condescending.

I'm pretty confident that I've watched more horror and thrillers than most of these people because I really watch a lot. And I can say that THIS IS NOT SCARY.

Granted, there is ONE minute in the entire film where it can be considered creepy or scary, but that is all. And that one minute doesn't justify the boring, drawn-out, convoluted, badly-directed rest of the movie.

Nowadays there are so many movies and content to consume out there, and people really hate wasting time because time spent watching one movie could have been spent watching another better movie. And there are thousands of better horror movies out there than Lake Mungo. If you have enough time to waste, so much that you don't care, then go ahead and watch Lake Mungo just for the heck of it. But at least don't mislead other people into thinking maybe there is something there.

This is a badly directed, unscary, super slow, and convoluted movie. Sure you may like how it's a "beautiful story about grief", but if that's what you're looking for, go watch other drama movies that are way more beautiful, well-paced, well-directed.
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fasten your seat belt.....
ptb-812 April 2009
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.
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Don't believe the hype!
darbyl9 January 2020
I've heard and read many good things about this movie. After finally watching it, I think those people need to be smacked across the face. This is just a boring, plodding, and awful film. I'm the type who won't quit a movie once I've started it, no matter how bad it is. This one put me to the test. I kept waiting for something, anything, to happen. Some reviews on here are saying it's the greatest horror film of all time. Seriously?! It's not the least bit frightening, disturbing, or creepy. I think those people are masochists who are laughing at your pain after you sit through this dumpster fire, because they know it's one of the most boring films ever made.
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Good style, excellent acting - very very boring
freeholdarmstrong7 February 2014
Interesting style of filming, just like a documentary but SO boring. I only watched to the end because of the reviews on here which I do not understand.

The story is weak, the twists are weak and it drags. It's like it is trying to be really clever but just failing. There is no element of surprise and no empathy for the characters. The acting is good though.

To be honest it is hard to write 10 lines about this film. If you have nothing better to do then give it a watch, other people seemed to enjoy it but it just seemed utterly pointless to me.

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Drama dressed as a horror movie
benjaminmcelroy15 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
With an idea like "girl dies in mysterious manner and kept secrets about her life, oh also her last name is palmer" I wanted to think I was going to get some twin peaks vibes at least a little bit from this film. Although yes asking some random movie to be like David Lynch is a high ask

Instead however you get this very slow paced film where almost every second feels like padding. I would suggest cutting it down to thirty minutes would fix this, but what do you cut? What's important enough to leave in the film?

My main complaint is nothing is elaborated on or explored in an interesting way. Very late into the film is where we discover the "secret life" of our dead girl (Alice) and also we find out yes Alice is a ghost (which that whole plotline with the brother faking the footage should have been cut in the screenplay stage). We find out that Alice had sexual relations with her neighbors and that appearently the husband of the pair of neighbors BROKE INTO THE HOUSE of the main cast and no one noticed? Also they appearently move and untraceable? Like there is no documents of them acquiring a new house? Did they flee the country? Did they get fake identities? We don't know!

Then we get this plotline of going to the title place Lake Mungo, which at first I thought was going to be some creepy weird place, where something went down. We even get cellphone footage from other characters that imply something happened to Alice. Well what happened to Alice is she met her future ghost? Or something? We never get a real explanation on what alice really saw or rather why she saw it. The film however treats this as the climax of the movie like the family found the big secret of the film, when this would be like the inciting incident of a regular movie.

The movie then ends on a photo of the family I presuming leaving the house, it zooms and we see alice in a window. Implying Alice is still haunting the house? Huh? The film seems to be more concerned with the family getting closure on their daughters death rather than exploring themes of supernatural. Which I think is bad if you are using supernatural elements. I think this movie should have been more like idk a fake murder documentary than a fake ghost one at least it would have made more sense and then you wouldn't have to explain the rules of ghosts in your universe. You could even still have scary cellphone footage at the end of you wanted.

I think this film is also really confused on a lot of metrics, mainly screenplay wise. The writer seems to think creating as many red herrings and cryptic lines of dialogue will make this film more suspenseful. When it just makes it more frustrating from a narrative perspective. For instance their is a scene with the grandmother of alice who says she never fully loved Alice's mother (June) and she thinks it might be the same with June and Alice's relationship. We never get an answer or resolution to that question, it is just there to throw you for a loop and maybe think June is like a suspect or something?

Anyway this film is acted pretty well except for like a couple characters but I guess you could just imagine the character is camera shy because this is a mockumentary film. The camera work was fine and the editing was okay. Sound was a little bit of issue, due to the lack of suspense they add a lot of white noise into this along with long lingering shots usually of a not very good photo of Ghosts Alice so overall this film isn't really worth it. I think some elements of the story are cool I just wish the film was less confused and also like a 30 minute short instead of it's actual runtime.
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Great ghost story! Genuinely scary (and horror movies don't scare me)
tbyrne46 August 2010
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 hobby.

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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I don't get the good reviews
mrgums-8720710 October 2019
I literally have insomnia and I kept almost falling asleep during this film. I am a horror guru and the reviews said this was super scary and well done. It's probably one of the most boring "horror" films I've seen. Don't waste your time. I did and I want it back.
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p_imdb-238-9263807 July 2016
This movie is the most boring one, I've seen for a while.

I had to watch it in three parts, spread over 3 days. Couldn't keep my eyes opened while watching this boredom. But due to some praise in the other reviews, I tried to watch it till the end, as apparently there will be a big pay off. Except there wasn't.

This mockumentary basically shows a bunch of people which get interviewed, and then other people get interviewed, then the next scene is the same people getting interviewed again. There is no real plot and the so called twists, aren't twists.

It's not scary at all, despite some people praising this film for being genuinely scary, it is absolutely not. You get to see some very blurry pictures with a ghost on it, that's it, that's the whole approach of this movie to scare you.

If you still believe the other good reviews, like I did, I've got a tip for you. If you watched 20 minutes of the movie, and judge this is too boring, than turn it off. It won't get better, that will be all you get. There will be no payoff.

But I must say, I can imagine that a 8 year old might be a little scared of this, so if you want to familiarise your little kids with the "horror" genre, this might be a good fit.
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Bland and unimpressive supernatural-themed thriller
kannibalcorpsegrinder5 August 2014
Following a teenager's accidental drowning, a family's slowly-unfolding attempt at forging on is disrupted with the gradual unraveling at her dark past leading up to the incident and how they lead to her final fate.

This turned out to be such a boring effort hardly anything about it is enjoyable. The really disappointing part about this is that, despite this being based around an incredibly enjoyable concept, the main storyline here is so off that it really does the film far more harm by being the way it is, which is all due to the way this plays out. The film is based on the revelations of the family after-the-fact about what caused her death and how digging into her past lead to much darker secrets than they ever anticipated, but yet the documentary-like nature of the film manages to make it feel like what happens is not that scary or chilling at all. From the start, with the photographs and her appearance in them to the neighbors' video footage finding her on them to the consultations with the paranormal experts and all this, it's never given any sort of imposing nature about being terrified of what's going on, as it's all about being done after it's already happened because it's a documentary about what happened instead of letting everything unfold in real-time. There's a lot of potentially-creepy manners and actions that happen through these actions through the family's drama but yet none of what happens is given any sort of feeling like it's scary or chilling and it really makes the film just trod along so lifelessly that it's hardly all that enjoyable the way it's presented here. Even all the gradual reveals that happen in here, from the infidelity with the neighbors to the paranormal dealings and the final revelation about her past are given any sort of truly creepy feel about what's happening and that makes this a really lifeless ordeal. Because none of this is given out to any sort of kills or supernatural attacks that would've resulting in some blood-letting or action to take place, this is a lifeless, bloodless barely-there horror effort.

Rated R: Brief Nudity, Language and blurred sex scenes.
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lastexitinny-542362 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
A fake ghost story a fake psychic and a couple who diddle a 15 year old girl on video. Don't waste your Time
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Almost as scary as Golden Girls
UthaSideR1 August 2014
This movie is literally the worst movie I have ever seen and I've watched some real stink bombs! If you think watching the news, Nancy Grace, or Dr. Phil is scary then this movie will make you pee your pants. It's chocked fill of 2 hours worth of talking about a ghost that turns out to be nothing. Nothing at all. If you were scared by this that might mean you're a little baby girl.

If you want to watch a decent creepy documentary horror watch Rec, The Bay, Banshee Chapter, or even Behind the Mask (it's actually a horror comedy but it's great)! This was like watching an episode of 60 minutes. I kept waiting for something to happen.. ANYTHING AT ALL. I feel like this should have been on YouTube or something instead of a movie. Even if it was a YouTube video it'd still be garbage but at least it wouldn't be garbage that somebody is making money off of...
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jeroduptown6 April 2021
The concept was interesting, but got dragged down by the interview-style telling. Alice's story only had interest through the peppering of "actual footage" that got thrown in here and there.
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emceegusto3 June 2019
There is something about this movie that stuck with me long after I watched it. I watch a lot of horror movies and I rarely find them to actually be scary, just entertaining. But they don't typically linger. Lake Mungo lingered. And not in a fun, happily ever after way. It lingered in the back of my mind and when I tried going to bed that night, I found I was still thinking about the movie and I was actually scared. I couldn't remember the last time a movie made me feel scared.

There's nothing overtly terrifying about this movie. I haven't seen the trailer but I can imagine it being quite dull. There aren't any jump scares, no cgi, no shaky cam. But as the movie progresses, do does the dread and uneasiness. There are twists and turns. At times the film is morose as it delves deep into a grieving family.

It's best to watch this movie without any knowledge of the plot. And don't be surprised if you lose some sleep.
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Less a horror story...more a mystery.
MartinHafer12 June 2019
"Lake Mungo" is an Australian film that is part horror and part mystery...with a stronger emphasis on the mystery aspect to the story. It begins with the Palmer family on an outing and their daughter, Alice, drowning in the reservoir. What follows is the family trying to make sense of this death and as they go through Alice's things, they begin to realize that there's far more to the story than simply her dying. She certainly was NOT a normal teen and I'll leave it to you to see how and why.

If you are looking to be scared, I doubt if this film will do it for you. But instead of cheap scares, the film manages to be both creepy and unique. Using a fake documentary look and style, it certainly is unique and keeps your attention.
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Lake Mongoloid
michaelradny11 October 2015
Possibly one of the worst and most pointless film/documentary I have seen ever. It's extremely under paced, barely interesting and just plain boring. The 'eeriness' that was claimed was non-existent, the scares were nowhere to be seen and this film as a whole was just all over the shop. Whilst the story may be interesting at first glance, it just takes too long for anything remotely to happen and the whole film itself feels misplaced and lost.

A pretty bad film in all honesty. Noting happens, nothing makes this film fun or entertaining and it just lacks any vibes whatsoever. Avoid like the plague.
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Lake Mungo
Scarecrow-889 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There are tons and tons of negative press for "Lake Mungo" so I don't think I'll ever change any minds or opinions in regards to it. All I know is the impact it had on me. Arranged as a document of events, a chronicle of what a family experienced after the traumatic loss of their daughter, Alice, who drowned in a river near a dam in Ararat, Australia.

It seems that Alice is still hanging around places she associated in life, the place located near her death, and in her room and house, the reflection bouncing off mirrors, the spirit walking about, a photograph of this girl in the backyard. I guess people who watched this found it dull and couldn't appreciate the efforts not only in filming "Lake Mungo" in such a documentary fashion, but the acting as well. To authenticate interviews and convey a family and their story as real is no easy task, and I think this painstaking approach indeed does pay in dividends. I genuinely had the willies when the filmmakers would show the ghost images on film or video. Those blown up photographs of her in a corner, or a brief glimpse of a face in a mirror, or off in the wife was so perturbed, she couldn't even look at the screen. I got the heebie jeebies quite a bit when they would run video at night, the brother, Mathew(Martin Sharpe), setting up his camera, hoping to capture his sister moving about as if nothing in her life had changed.

The director likes to establish the house, Alice's room, the outside of the Palmer residence, the night and day sky, the clouds and the stars as voices from family members, a psychic they befriend who helps them, Ray Kemeny(Steve Jodrell), and other interviewed characters speak on this and that in regards to the paranormal situation and the impact of a life lost. June(Rosie Traynor)is the grieving mother who can not come to terms with the loss of her daughter, Russell(David Pledger), the father who attempts to drown out his sorrow through his work. A séance and hypnosis reveal Alice's presence to June, while Russell himself speaks about his rather disturbing encounter with an enraged daughter who did not like the fact that he was in her room! We notice that Alice isn't exactly a happy camper in any of her ghostly images and Mathew has a temporary series of body marks which eventually vanish.

What I found particularly interesting was how startling revelations emerge regarding a hidden videotape(containing eye-opening sordid activity of a sexual kind), a buried cellphone, a diary, the introduction of a neighbor(Alice babysit for)who may've actually been in the Palmer's home late one night searching for something that could implicate him in a less-than-decent act he'd much rather keep secret, among other things which prove that Alice wasn't actually a patron saint. Even psychic Ray might've met Alice once while she was alive, revealing that she was worried about something possibly happening to her. There's a particularly creepy moment in the movie where there's a recorded image on the cell phone which most of us I imagine would not want to greet occurred at Lake Mungo and defines the very meaning of the word "visitor".

I have no idea why "Lake Mungo" was so ill-received. Maybe, those who didn't like it were expecting something different..not a chronicle of events set up in a documentary format. Whatever the case, I do expect, and I could be wrong but what the hell, in the future maybe "Lake Mungo" might find it's audience and develop a cult following. I think it has some superb work by the cast who really sell the product as real people all linked, one way or another, to a young woman found dead in the water. I'll tell you, though, this ends rather sobering, hauntingly, as we see two interviews running over each other, Alice telling a dream to Ray, as June has one final consultation herself with the psychic. It's about separating, with a picture at the very end showing three family members posing as a fourth looks on from inside a now empty house, out a window, perhaps realizing her's quite a lasting image, one we all could obviously find terrifying, being left all alone by your loved ones, caught in the quandary of a limbo existence.
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