Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Review - Lake Mungo (2008 - Dir. Joel Anderson)

I saw this nearly two years ago at the Celluloid Screams festival in Sheffield. It's only just come out on DVD. I can't believe it hasn't been picked up for release sooner.

It's been worth the wait. Most horror films now aren't scary in the slightest. Perhaps I've seen too many. Possibly. Lake Mungo sent actual shivers down my spine at least three times. When I first saw it, there was one massive shock that stuck with me. On second watching, I was expecting what I remembered, rather than what actually happened and it didn't have the same effect. I will have to try watching it again.

Lake Mungo is a ghost story. A family is devastated by the  drowning of their daughter (Talia Zucker). The film follows their life after the event and how they cope with their grief.

The documentary style to the proceedings gives the film verisimilitude (always wanted to write that, probably haven't used it properly on account of me being a thick northerner). The acting is perfect throughout the film. It would have only taken one duffer to pull you out of the film but it doesn't happen. The dad (David Pledger) is truly excellent, smiling at times that seem wholly inappropriate, but you do see people in real-life do this as a coping mechanism. The actors who don't actually have massive speaking parts are also great. For example, the granddad sits looking down and nervously playing with his fingers whilst his wife speaks to the camera. Exactly what you'd expect.

As a mystery, it doesn't work quite so well. The revelations are all unnerving and get darker towards the end but they are not necessarily linked. I was initially disappointed by this, as I've been conditioned by other films to like mysteries where events have a knock on effect. Doesn't happen here. Now, I think it makes the film more realistic. In life, events are not always connected.

Rumour has it that there's going to be an inevitable remake. Why? Surely the fact that it's Australian adds even more to the reality of the film. Watch this rather than wait for the sub-standard version. A welcome break from insipid overly shiny HD horrors.

If you like this you could also try:
Paranormal Activity, Rec, The Silent House.


  1. Quality! Really liked this one too. It's subtle, creepy and clever. The mystery plot is a bit suspect, but I'm in agreement that this makes the whole thing more realistic.

  2. Cheers fella! This should be way more popular than it is. Hopefully if there is a remake more people will get to see the original.