Lake Mungo (2008) Movie Review
Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Joel Anderson
Producers: Georgie Nevile, David Rapsey, Kerri Schwarze
Writers: Joel Anderson
Date Released: June 18, 2008
Rosie Traynor as June Palmer
David Pledger as Russell Palmer
Martin Sharpe as Mathew Palmer
Talia Zucker as Alice Palmer
Steve Jodrell as Ray Kemeny
Tania Lentini as Georgie Ritter
Cameron Strachan as Leith Ritter
Judith Roberts as Iris Long
Robin Cuming as Garrett Long
Marcus Costello as Jason Whittle
Chloe Armstrong as Kim Whittle
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
16-year-old Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker) drowns while swimming in the local dam. When her body is recovered, her family buries her and tries to move on. However, strange things happen in their home, further unsettling the grieving family. Alice also starts to appear in photographs and video recordings. The family finally decides to reach out to psychic and parapsychologist Ray Kemeny (Steve Jodrell), who helps them discover Alice’s secrets.
Lake Mungo (2008) relies on tension and hair-raising ghost images, so there is no gore in the film. The only scene that might concern viewers is the sight of a drowned dead body. Also, there is a scene showing sexual intercourse.
The Grave Review
Lake Mungo (2008) is Joel Anderson’s debut film, which is surprising because it is a well-crafted horror gem. The movie has a similar premise with Paranormal Activity (2007), and it also makes effective use of the mockumentary method if not better. The plot of the film does not sound as enticing as its competitors, but Anderson’s skills make the movie stand out from the rest.
We see the Palmer family being interviewed about their experiences after Alice’s death. What makes it work for the film is the acting. The actors make the mockumentary seem authentic, like true crime documentaries you’ll see on televisions. Even the quality of the family home videos feels lifelike like the actors really are a family sharing their stories. Sometimes, you’ll forget that these are actors playing fictional characters.
The cinematography knows how to make the scares get under your skin. Also, the atmosphere throughout the film is consistently ominous. So when the scares happen, the viewers are left unsettled. You might even find yourself covering your eyes or looking behind you.
Aside from the horror, the film does a good job portraying a family coping with grief. With the help of the fantastic acting and convincing dialogue, you will feel their laments. Also, the film has an eye-awakening message to families out there.
The film will also keep you guessing. A twist might throw you off the hook, but more twists await the viewers. These twists do not complicate the story or confuse the audience. Instead, they pull you in and feel the weight of the secrets.
It’s rare to see a ghost story nowadays that can actually scare the audience and leave a dreadful feeling even after the credits. But it’s a total shame that Lake Mungo (2008) is underappreciated and underseen. If you haven’t seen this gem, put it at the top of your list. Then, share it with the world because it deserves love and recognition. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Anderson’s talent.
Because of the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Lake Mungo (2008) four graves out of five graves.
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