Day two of my adventure at the movie theater is over with at long last. Considering that I was there pretty close to 12 hours, I felt like they should have made a bed for me there while they were cleaning up. While I had fun, and got to see some very cool movies, I discovered that it kind of sucks to be at the theater for that fucking long! I went for walks after Lake Mungo (2008), and after the next movie. I forgot with it being Sunday that stores close a little earlier, so I was stuck in the theater for a good while waiting for the next movie to start. Today I got to the theater quicker than I thought I would actually. I even stopped for a quick snack so I wouldn't have to spend a lot on drink and popcorn. The nice thing about getting lost, is you tend to remember how to get there the next time. I'm actually pretty good at remembering how to get somewhere once I make the trip the first time, so I wasn't worried. First up for the day was Lake Mungo.
After 16 year old Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker) drowns while swimming near the local dam, the rest of the family is left to deal with this tragic loss. June (Rosie Traynor) is taking it the hardest. Russell (David Pledger) is also taking it hard, but seems more rational about it. Mathew (Martin Sharpe), Alice's brother, doesn't seem to know how to deal with it for sure. When strange things begin to happen around their home, they set off to discover if it is Alice, or if there is some other explanation.
To be honest here, Lake Mungo was the film I was probably looking forward to the least. Imagine my surprise when by the end of the movie, it became my over all favorite by far. In fact, after watching all eight of the movies now, Lake Mungo remains at the top of my list. It is shot in a documentary style. I know this has been done what feels like a million times now, but Lake Mungo manages to set itself apart from other movies like this. The main reason why is because it truly does feel like an actual documentary film. There are no recreations, and "actual" footage is kept to a minimum. This is an after the fact documentary, where they are interviewing family and friends of Alice after all the events we are being told about happen. Some video is used of some of the events that we are being told about, and we see plenty of photographs. At no time do they ever break out of this.
The acting is what also helps out a lot. Everyone puts in some convincing acting that manages to draw you in. Only once did I start to lose a little interest, after some things were revealed, but it quickly pulled me back in. Lake Mungo is billed mostly as a ghost story. In part it is, but it so much more than that as well. It is actually set up so you can believe either way. I have to be careful with what I say about this movie, because it would be so easy to accidentally give something away. Lake Mungo felt like a roller coaster ride almost. It gets your attention, and then drops the floor out from under you. But it does build itself back up again. One of the things that makes it so interesting, and surprising, is how well it builds up the main characters. Even though Alice is only shown in home made films and pictures, we still learn a lot about her. Some of it is shocking, while some of it is down right creepy.
The only makeup effect is when we see Alice being taken out of the water. Director/writer Joel Anderson only resorts to one jump scare, but I felt like it was completely within the story to do so. He wasn't doing it in order to try and get us to jump by using a loud noise, or something like that. It made me jump because I was so into the story by then, and I wasn't expecting what was shown. I can't say that I felt scared at any time, but it did manage to creep me out something bad a couple of times. I really missed that feeling. After some things were revealed, I did start to lose interest and didn't think it was going to win me back. Now that I look back at how I felt though, I am a little disappointed with myself. Just because a movie doesn't go in the direction I thought it was heading doesn't mean I should give up on it. Lake Mungo manages to do that a few times as it leads you down a path, but goes off in a direction you weren't expecting. If the mother/daughter reveal at the end of the movie doesn't manage to creep you out, I will be damn surprised.
I got so caught up in talking about how much I liked this movie, that I forgot to throw in what I didn't like. For some people I know that the fact that not everything was tied up nice and neat will be a problem. Not everyone cared for the style it was shot in. But I thought it worked very well. My biggest issue was the fact that some of the things they showed in videos were very hard to make out, yet the family knew what was going on seemingly. Like at one point all we can see is the shadowy figure of someone's head. June somehow knew this was a man, and that he was looking for something. How you can gather all that from a shadowy figure of just the head? There is another video that shows Alice sitting on the ground. That is all it looked like to me, that she was just sitting there. But her family was somehow able to figure out she was doing more than that.
Lake Mungo turned out to be a real treat. If you go see any of these movies, go see this one! They will be showing all week, and I believe next weekend as well. At least that is After Dark's plan anyway, since I have no idea if theaters will actually do that. Before After Dark managed to include this movie as part of the new 8 Films To Die For, Hollywood announced a remake of it set for 2011. Luckily for us that After Dark did include it. You could go ahead and order it from Lake Mungo's web site if you don't want to wait. If you plan on buying the set, I would just wait it out since it didn't take long for last year's movies to hit DVD. Even though it didn't scare me, it did manage to creep me out more than once and got me so involved with the story and characters, I have to give it my top rating. It really is that good.
5 out of 5 Make sure not to turn it off as soon as the credits pop up
5 days ago