Lake Mungo

Lake Mungo ★★★★

As an avid fan of 2000s ghost shows and paranormal activity readings since I was eight, I have clung to an unshakeable unease and discomfort associated with finding faces and figures in the blurry pixels of images. There’s something deeply haunting about such phenomena, regardless of if they’re doctored or not because it aligns with a great unease of the unknown. Lake Mungo relies on that dependable fear in its audiences quite a lot but to its own benefit.

The fact the title of Lake Mungo doesn’t find clarity until there are less than 30 minutes left in the runtime speaks to a greater level of ambition the Australian mockumentary strives for. In many ways, I think Lake Mungo succeeds exceptionally at what it wants to. More a deep dive into grief over anything else, the gloom of its story hangs overhead quite heavily. 

I don’t think the actual execution of dialogue and narrative always works but that’s easy enough to understand when we take note of the fact every scene was improvised. Despite that, it’s still an unsettling and upsetting examination of what sometimes comes from clinging to those we’ve lost. 

The universal terror of grief devours us throughout the runtime so that by the time things end, everything is more believable and horrifying. I love, love, love the pointblank reveal at the end of all easter eggs viewers more than likely missed. Mike Flanagan uses a similar idea within The Haunting of Hill House. In both cases, it ensures even when things seem okay, the viewer still feels discomforted. That lingering discomfort is one of the more impressive feats of horror, one that I’m always glad to encounter. 

Watch 7/61 of my 2021 61 Days of Horror List

claira curtis @ tribeca liked these reviews