Movie: Lake Mungo
Ghost movies are pretty lame. There, I said it! Really you’re going to be pretty hard pressed to find a truly creepy ghost movie, that doesn’t rely on the clichés hammered home by so many Japanese horror movies (and their American remakes). But forget The Eye Ring Shutter Grudge Pulse 3, because LAKE MUNGO is neither Japanese, or lame. In fact it’s damn awesome!
Lake Mungo is presented entirely as a documentary. The kind of documentary that you may stumble across on the ABC or SBS. The kind of touching, personal documentary that draws you into the lives of people you know nothing about, and compels you to listen to their story. The kind of documentary that you find yourself watching in its entirety, and end up completely involved with the subject matter… The kind of documentary that even people who don’t watch documentaries catch themselves watching.
But here’s hoping that you never stumble onto this movie unaware. If I hadn’t known that Lake Mungo was a movie, a work of fiction, utterly and totally contrived by its creators, I think I may have let a little bit of wee come out while watching it. At no time during this film does it drop the pretence that it is a documentary. At no time does writer / director, Joel Anderson make the mistake of choosing to swell the score, throw in a helping of special effects and go for some hollywood trickery. He is relentless in his dedication to keeping this movie grounded in reality, and it is that dedication that has you utterly convinced that what you are watching is, if not real, plausible.
The plausibility is reenforced by an incredible attention to detail. The ‘documentary’ relies on interview footage, home movies, photos and Local News footage. So dedicated to making these elements appear completely legitimate were the film makers, that they didn’t shoot or edit the news footage themselves, they simply staged events and invited a real local news crew to come and cover the drama as though it were real. The result, as I’ve said, is thoroughly convincing.
Like real life there are ups and downs. Things that seem to be fact are dispelled and you have to change the way you look at everything that came before. This happens to the family at the centre of this story several times. After the drowning death of their 16 year old daughter, the Palmer family is confronted by a series of strange happenings. Ultimately they begin to question whether or not their daughter is actually dead. More so, they begin to discover that their daughter kept things from them. She had secrets. In fact she kept the fact that she had secrets a secret, to paraphrase one of the daughter’s friends, who is interviewed for the documentary.
Actually, forget what I said before. This isn’t a ghost movie in the oogah-boogah sense. If you go into it looking to see books flying off shelves, or something reminiscent of BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, then you’ll be sorely disappointed… Probably even more disappointed than you were by Blair Witch Project! *ZING!* What Anderson, the wonderful cast, and amazing production crew have made with this film is a startlingly real — pointless happenings and all — slice of real life.
Ok, so maybe there is some oogah-boogah in there too! OR is there!? [source]
Check out the trailer in the madman [screening room]