Monday, August 23, 2010

Lake Mungo (2008)

Movie quotes:
"Alice kept secrets. She kept the fact that she kept secrets a secret."
 - Alice’s friend Kim

At a glance:
This unusual and original supernatural thriller is both an intriguing mystery and a showcase of acting and directing talent

Our review (with spoilers):
Alice Palmer, an Australian teen, drowns accidentally; her parents and brother explore their grief in different ways. That’s the very short summary of Lake Mungo, an original combination of supernatural thriller and mystery. If you haven’t seen Mungo yet, please stop reading now, as this film is so much better when you can follow the path and have no idea where it’s going.

After Alice’s death, noises in the house indicate that she has returned in spirit form. Her brother (who was there when she drowned and could even be considered a possible suspect) mounts video and still cameras throughout the house and garden; the results show a shadowy, Alice-shaped figure. But this is debunked when the brother admits that he doctored the footage as a way of getting Alice’s supposed body exhumed to ensure that DNA testing could confirm it was indeed her.

But the DNA confirmation is not the end of the story. Director Joel Anderson makes home video, mobile phone footage, and videotaped interviews with a psychic play an important role in this unraveling mystery. Anderson also displays a knack for getting sincere, achingly subtle performances from his actors, whose grief and/or detachment is as real as the real thing.

Rating: 3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"It's not so much scary as spooky (except for one really creepy moment) but this ghost story is less about supernatural hauntings than human secrets and lies."
- Sean Axmaker (

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