Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker, Tania Lentini
Director: Joel Anderson
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
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Deidra C. (Deidra670) from GARRETT, KY
Reviewed on 11/5/2010...
LAKE MUNGO is a very odd entry into the AFTER DARK HORRORFEST series, but it might be the best of the lot. At Lake Mungo, the Palmers are having a family excursion that goes horribly wrong. Their sixteen year old daughter, Alice drowns while swimming with her brother, Matthew. The family is understandably devastated.
However, their nightmare is far from over, instead it's only just begun. After the funeral, strange events begin to plague the family. Noises from Alice's room, outside the window and on the roof. Her father is inside her room when she suddenly appears and screams for him to GET OUT!
And then the secrets that Alice had kept hidden, begin to unfold...
LAKE MUNGO is a very spooky, unnerving film that is told in the style of TBWP and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. There isn't any gore or things that jump out at the screen, but what the film does have is real human emotions. The Palmers look at the camera and tell their story and their pain, grief and ultimately, fear resonates within the viewer.
LAKE MUNGO is an original horror experience or at least, it was for me. I saw and felt things that I hope and pray never occur in my own life. And isn't that the goal of any horror film? LAKE MUNGO achieves this and much, much more.
Don't miss it.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
The Daughter They Thought They Knew
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 04/19/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Lake Mungo" is an unsettling and unreasonably absorbing movie, one that ingenuously merges the structure of a documentary, the mystery of a detective story, the character development of a drama, and the suspense of a horror movie. It's genuinely good, but because it lacks gore, violence, nudity, and action, I suspect it will not be met with universal praise within the horror community. Like last fall's surprisingly effective "The House of the Devil," this is a film that should be commended simply for having audiences in mind other than teenagers with short attention spans. Rather than assault you with slasher tactics, writer/director Joel Anderson has the temerity to have the characters talk directly to the camera; if we do find ourselves frightened, it's not because something has jumped out at us but because we see the terror, grief, and confusion on everyone's face.
That's the greatest achievement of this film: It takes conventional ideas - poltergeist activity, buried secrets, premonitions, strange deaths - and humanizes them. Not even the brilliant "Paranormal Activity" could put a face on either of its leads; all effort was put into building a sequence of events. "Lake Mungo," more polished and varied in its approach, is edited in much the same way as a Discovery or History Channel special, with a group of people giving on-camera interviews for a team of filmmakers documenting a supposed case of suburban haunting. At the center of the investigation is sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker), who drowned mysteriously in December of 2005 while picnicking with her family.
Not long after her funeral, odd things begin happening at the Palmer residence. Noises are heard on the roof and outside the window. The door to Alice's room keeps slamming on its own, even after it had been taken off its hinges and replaced. The mother, June (Rosie Traynor), begins having nightmares, which become so bad that she takes walks in the middle of the night. At a certain point, she even breaks into other people's homes, not to steal anything, but simply to get some sleep. The father, Russell (David Pledger), goes into Alice's room and has what can best be described as a vision, which ends startlingly. Alice's brother, Matthew (Martin Sharpe), goes to the doctor with unexplained bruises on his body, which disappear just as quickly as they show up. And then there are his photographs and videos, which both seem to reveal the presence of Alice's ghost.
Before long, June turns to Ray Kemeny (Steve Jordel), a radio host and psychic who specializes in paranormal activity. June likes him. Indeed, there's nothing especially eccentric about him, although he does have a large collection of cassette tapes. During their first session together, June is put into a hypnotic state and asked to describe what she sees. What we hear is undeniably chilling, but it doesn't really resonate until later on.
Now, what are we to make of this? Is all as it seems? As is the case with a lot of actual investigations, not everything comes to light at the very start. Consider Alice. At her funeral, news reports quote her family and friends, who said she was a "happy, fun-loving girl with a zest for life," a "great person," and "very popular, clever, and lovely." All very nice, but does it actually reveal anything? People are not one-dimensional - to a greater or lesser degree, we all lead a double life, and of that, I will say no more. Consider Matthew. Do his photos tell the whole story? Maybe they say more about him than they do about Alice. Consider Ray. Let's just say that, regardless of whether or not they have genuine abilities, psychics always seem to know more than they initially care to admit.
A trail of evidence leads the Palmers to Lake Mungo, a dried-up Australian lakebed Alice had visited during a class trip. What they discover is terrifying, although I'm hard pressed to say that they get the answers they were looking for. We don't, either. We only have the speculations of a grieving family sitting in front of a camera.
Not bloody enough for you? Too much talk and not enough action? This movie will certainly not do anything for the masked-killer-and-gory-deaths crowd, who will no doubt see it as slow, uneventful, and boring. But for others, it will be regarded highly, seen as a quietly unnerving psychological drama that is legitimately frightening. I may be in the minority here, but I'm confident in my assertion that "Lake Mungo" is a horror movie, made with the intention of actually horrifying the audience. I attribute most of its success to its compelling character development; we're actually made to care about the Palmers and what happens to them, or more accurately, what we think happens to them. Good luck finding anything like that in a teen slasher film."
Spellbinding was-it-a-ghost? story
chance725 | brooklyn, ny | 09/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beneath its spooky surface - a brilliant imitation of a TV-style documentary on a possible haunting - this movie is really a harrowing look at grieving: about how we deal with loss, and how a shattered family tries to put the pieces back together, after the death of a loved one. There are no easy answers, and no solutions to the ultimate mysteries the movie raises - though the conclusion of the story is completely satisfying. As other reviewers have noted, it's not a gore-fest, and nothing jumps out at you - but I found myself, when it was over, wanting to watch it all over again, to see how cleverly the film-makers had maintained and raised the tension throughout. And I also wanted to see again many of the truly beautiful and haunting images - including time-lapse shots of the "haunted" house against a changing night sky... or the ominous movement of the camera down a quiet but possibly terrifying hallway. This movie is truly unique and quite an achievement."
Different than expected, but a good watch
The Tao of Netflix | Washington, DC | 05/28/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Reading the movie description, I expected a typical horror flick. Instead, this movie combines a horror film with an interview-like story. The movie basically tells the story by periodically inserting interview footage, and then following that footage with flashbacks of what is described in the interviews. I generally find that this makes for a somewhat discontinuous movie experience (ala Exorcism of Emily Rose). Despite the discontinuity, the horror elements were very good. Without giving too much away, the movie is primarily focused on sharing a family's experience with a ghost, and whether or not that ghost manifests itself in photos and video footage. The way the movie reveals the photo/video footage is quite good and was very eerie, but is definitely focused on mood and slowly building psychological impact than startling horror elements that jump out and scare you. Again, though, the eerie mood was very well developed and maintained throughout the movie. Very highly recommended, but do frame your expectations accordingly to properly enjoy."