Title – Lake Mungo (2008)
Director – Joel Anderson (feature debut)
Cast – David Pledger, Rosie Traynor, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker
Plot – A documentary filmmaker looks into the lives of the Palmer family after their teenage daughter Alice (Zucker) is killed in a tragic dam drowning in the small Australian town of Ararat and what he uncovers is truly chilling.
“She kept the fact that she kept secrets a secret”
Review by Eddie on 4/02/2016
An extremely low budget and low key Australian horror done in the faux-documentary style that has now well and truly worn out its welcome, Lake Mungo is impressive in what it does with limited resources and its ambition is to be commended but a big problem with this now cult film is that it’s sadly not very scary.
Whilst suitably creepy at times as Lake Mungo wears on towards it’s slight 80 minute run time the films initial chilling set-up slowly descends into something that becomes unfortunately tiresome even though the film’s final credits scenes provide some unnerving finishing moments.
While criticisms can be easily made of Lake Mungo’s inability to capitalize on its promising cornerstones director Joel Anderson certainly must be commended for sticking to his low-budget guns and delivering a mock-doc that to the uninitiated may absolutely seem like a legitimate documentary!
Using grainy phone footage, good use of talking heads and fake news reports, Anderson crafts a tale that actually feels real even if the story its telling becomes a little far-fetched and lacking. Telling the story of the sad demise of young Alice Palmer in this way allows Anderson to hide the films limitations in ways that don’t take away from the films central premise and only some clunky delivery of dialogue really gives Lake Mungo’s sleight of hand away.
One of the more impressive Australian horrors of recent times (although that’s not entirely an amazing feat) and perhaps the best locally made example of a faux documentary yet produced (again not exactly tough competition), Lake Mungo has clearly in the years since its release found an appreciative audience that it failed to find upon initial runs these now many moons ago and you could do a lot worse than making Lake Mungo your horror fix over the slowly dying Paranormal Activity franchise or any other such higher profile wannabe.
3 buried cell phones out of 5