Lake Mungo (2008)

Lake MungoReviewed by Scott A. Johnson

Starring Talia Zucker, Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Steve Jodrell, and Tamara Donnellan

Directed by Joel Anderson

Distributed by After Dark Films and Lionsgate Home Entertainment

One word comes to mind when thinking about Lake Mungo: “disappointing”. While it’s billed as a paranormal thriller, it fails to pack a punch and leaves viewers feeling like maybe they wasted an hour and a half watching it.

The story opens up with Alice, who’s on a family trip, drowning. Her family begins experiencing what they consider to be paranormal activity and believe they’re being haunted by her ghost. In the process, they find a few clues that let her family know that she wasn’t the innocent little girl they believed she was, and the movie pretty much stops from there.

Shot in documentary style, Lake Mungo has a good overall feel, but there’s no payoff. There are two or three moments in the movie upon which the filmmaker should have built the rest of the story, but those moments are just kind of left by the wayside. Everyone is convinced that Alice is haunting them, but there’s never any real evidence of paranormal activity and nothing to base their assertion on other than creepy feelings and a radio talk show psychic who doesn’t really do very much.

The biggest redeeming qualities of the film are the performances by the actors. It’s easy for the audience to forget that they’re watching a movie because the performances by everyone involved are so natural, so realistic. And while they do their very best with the material, it isn’t enough to save the show. In the end it’s not really even horror so much as it is a watered-down mystery, half of which they admit to halfway through the film. Being billed as a “supernatural drama about grief” is even a stretch because there isn’t much supernatural about it. When it’s all said and done, it is a well done film about a family’s grief, depressing, and not at all what should be part of a horror film festival.

2 out of 5

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Scott A. Johnson

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  • Daymare

    You gave that misguided mess of a flick, The Final, *four* knives and only two for this little aussie gem?! And justified it with four short paragraphs that look like they’re from some random bloke on the imdb?

    And what do you mean there’s never any real evidence of paranormal activity? Did you even watch the whole film?

    • Sifu Scott

      Daymare –
      I did watch the whole movie, and without giving away any “spoilers,” I can say that any potential of real paranormal activity in the movie was marred early on in the film. It’s just a movie review, and just one person’s opinion. Feel free to have your own opinion. I won’t insist it has to match mine or any other person’s. I watched this movie and found it lacking. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but it wasn’t for me.

      • Daymare

        Sorry for being a bit rude earlier but the whole “it’s just an opinion” is always lost on me as an argument. Without going on a long rant about the so-called merits of postmodern relativism, let just say that it’s paradoxical in its very nature and more then a bit cowardly.

        But aaaanywayz; even though Lake Mungo’s great, you of course have every right not to enjoy it. ;p

  • El Regio Dude

    You totally nailed it, Sifu, i agree with you 100% about this movie.

    A total waste of my money, $159 pesos i will never see again.

    “Santo llamando a Blue Demon…”