Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Steve Jodrell
What's it about
After the death of a daughter, her family starts to think their house is hauntedÖby her! So they set up videotapes to get to the bottom of it. Then there's trouble.
Is it good movie?
So what should I compare Lake Mungo to? Paranormal Activity? Twin Peaks? Ghost Hunters? Any of those will work as Lake Mungo, the latest in the long-titled series 8 Films to Die For: After Dark Horrorfest 4. Now if we played which one of these titles does not belong with the other, itís Twin Peaks, so allow me to explain. As the cover of the Mungo DVD explains, ďIn 2008, Alice Palmer diedÖHer nightmare didnít.Ē Beyond the obvious connection to the Palmer name (Laura Palmer), the Peaks undercurrent comes from the mysterious circumstances of her death and the home movies that run constantly throughout. Much like Peaks, these videos show Palmer as a loving teen, someone who fully enjoyed life, but she had dark secrets, things that no one in the family could have suspected. Not only was she a kinky girl, but there was something else. Something darker. And like Peaks, the family pays for it. Ok, BOB doesnít make an appearance and no one goes to the local diner for cherry pie and coffee. But the death of the girl haunts the family, and mothers in both have dreams about their daughters. Iím not saying Lake Mungo ripped anything offÖbut Iím just saying.
So is it any good? Yes. This is a deliberate, slowly paced film that has an excellent cast who all seem completely believable and realistic. The film plays like a documentary, no pseudo reality. Itís far from it. In terms of horror, well, there really isnít much to say. No gore. No heavy violence. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, itís a little refreshing to know that some filmmakers realize that suspense and the fear of the unknown usually ends up more frightening than anything created. In this case, the fright comes from the recorded footage, where hidden the backgrounds, lurking in the shadows, is a figure. Who is it? What do they want? Is it real? Will it just remind of Blair Witch? And while I praise the movie for itís reluctance to go gore crazy, the ghost itself is kinda lame. The ghost, who created fear in the family by lurking and waiting to terrorize, is rarely seen. When it is, itís a still shot like the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot Ė a fuzzy, grainy still shot. Director Joel Anderson focuses solely on the documented evidence to provide the proof. But it's proof weíve seen before.
Video / Audio
Video: A Widescreen presentation.
Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.
A near great pseudo documentary that takes its time to develop. Not perfect, not for horror fans seeking gore, but for those who are interesting in watching a story unfold, one thatís sorta like Twin Peaks, but no where near that level of intrigue or mystery.