My review of this Australian oddity just as soon as check all the rooms in the house…
Lake Mungo is the Post-Blair Witch Project. It ultimately aims to avoid the typical cliches of the genre and tell a story that means more than simple scares. You know what? It almost makes it too. IMDB lists the film as “A Supernatural drama about grief” and that’s about right. It’s a film about how letting go can be the most difficult thing in the world, but how technology makes it easier for us to keep our loved ones around long after they’ve gone.
There’s a few twists and turns here so I’ll keep this as vague as I can.
Alice Palmer drowns in the titular Lake Mungo while out with her family. At first the film is about the immediate aftermath of that, how the Palmer’s (Mum, Dad and Brother) deal with the grief of losing their close sibling. The film takes a turn into the spooky when Alice shows up in photographs and later videos after she had drowned.
When I said this was (Probably the first) Post-Blair Witch film I meant it. It’s a film that’s preoccupied with the notion of perspective, and cameras, and how the lens defines what we see. It almost acts as a descontruction of the genre. To be honest I would’ve preferred a little less of this, though the film makers do throw in a new twist or scare to keep things interesting. It’s not that the non-supernatural aspects are bad, it’s just that they aren’t as good or revelatory as the film thinks they are.
On the scare front there’s a scene later on that’s so good it feels like the whole film has been building up to it. It’s such a shuddering, primal moment that I wouldn’t dreaming of spoiling it here. It’s so good in fact that I’m genuinely surprised it’s not been done before (At least not to the effect it was done here). It’s an undeniably haunting image, and it’s just a shame the film doesn’t have more scenes like it.
Up Next: Let’s just pick something at random!