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LAKE MUNGO
DVD region 2. Second Sight.

Lake MungoIf you hate ‘mockumentaries’ – and I’m sure some of you do – then stop reading now. This isn’t a film for you. But if you are looking for an interesting film with a slow burn creepiness, Lake Mungo might be just your thing.

The film tells the storey of sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer, who has drowned swimming in a dam. Her family, as they grieve, slowly start to suspect that her ghost is in their home. As they try to find out the truth, dark secrets about Alice’s past start to emerge (rather like another Palmer, Laura, in Twin Peaks).

While a faked documentary about ghosts will invariably bring comparisons to The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, the structure here is rather different. The story is told in the style of a narrative documentary, similar to any non-fiction feature film you might catch at the cinema or (more likely) on TV – UK readers should think of the BBC’s Storyville or Channel 4’s True Stories for comparable stuff. There is, of course, a great deal of ‘amateur’ video scattered throughout, but this is intercut with TV news reports and filmed interviews with friends and family. It’s all done very well – apart from one or two still images of Alice’s corpse that don’t look very realistic, this has a remarkable authenticity about it – any viewer stumbling upon it unaware of its fictional nature (the sleeve makes that fairly clear, so I’m not spoiling it for anyone) would probably be fairly convinced, especially as the film doesn’t offer up any real answers. Early ghostly images are revealed to have been faked, and the film keeps you guessing until the end. Arguably, the creepiest moments come during the closing credits.

This isn’t really a horror film – while it has an atmosphere that might unsettle, it lacks the scares and thrills that the genre needs. In fact, I’m not quite sure what it is, and I can understand why some genre fans have felt dissatisfied with it. However, I suggest that you give it a look – as an unfolding mystery and a quietly haunting tale, it has much to offer.

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (UK)

 

 

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