Lake Mungo, 2008 (Film Review)

This film has been one of those recommendations that pops up on “Films You Must See” lists. I’ve seen it on friends hard drives and a movie review sites but never thought to explore it until today. Join us for a spoiler-free review below.

Lake Mungo is a 2008 Australian psychological horror film written and directed by Joel Anderson and starring Talia Zucker and Martin Sharpe. It employs mockumentary-style storytelling with found footage and docufiction elements, using actor “interviewees” to present the narrative of a family trying to come to terms with the drowning death of their daughter, and the potentially supernatural events they experience after it.” Wikipedia

This film blends elements of time and space theory from Donnie Darko, paranormal activity aesthetics from Paranormal Activity and a delivery that would make Blair Witch Project blush.

It is filmed in a documentary style that is both involving and hyper-realistic. The format is put together in such a stylised way, even down to the talking heads and use of musical cues.

lake mungo film review crazydiscostu nerd blog family cast

The families performances feel powerfully real as they recount the events and how they are dealing with their own crushing grief. As events unfold their reactions and recollection of events is completely engaging.

The budget is low ($1.7 million AUD) but fantastically well spent to produce such a well rounded piece of art.

There’s a noticeable tension which ramps up throughout the runtime, easing off in the middle, manipulating the pace and leading the audience on a short controlled leash.

lake mungo film review crazydiscostu nerd blog ghost photo

The story is involving and contains plenty of twists and turns. Lake Mungo is fascinating and strange in equal parts but presented in such a grounded and accessible way that it makes an enjoyable viewing experience.

This was not the film i was expecting it to be. Writer/Director Joel Anderson has created a satisfying execution of his idea that hooks the viewer early.

There are so many elements at play here. If you enjoy documentaries, the unexplained, true crime/horror and ghost stories then you will absolutely love this film.

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