Lake Mungo

Lake Mungo ★★★

"In December 2005, a tragic accident began a series of extraordinary events that thrust a grieving family and the small Victorian town of Ararat into the media spotlight. This film is a record of those events."

Sixteen year old Alice Palmer was at the lake swimming during a family day out. Before anyone could notice, she slipped below the surface and drowned. A few days later her body was found and laid to rest. That is when things began to get strange. The family, already struggling with grief would hear noises and even see a figure in the house at night. Then there were the pictures. Recent pictures in which Alice appears in the background. Pictures taken after her death.

The first time I saw this film it was approximately a year or two after it came out. I stumbled upon it randomly on a streaming service and I remember it being interesting, creepy, and at a certain point downright stomach churning. While the stomach churning is still there in the scene in which the "secret" is revealed, that's really the only impression that still resonates with me today. I don't find it anywhere near as interesting and not the slightest bit creepy.

Mockumentaries and found footage films can be done well, and tend to compliment each other when combined but it's a tough feat to nail. Lake Mungo actually does a decent job at that combination, but the plot is just a mess. It flip flops between a Twin Peaks sort of mystery and poor attempts at injecting the supernatural. In some ways I'm pretty sure they were paying homage to Twin Peaks . The victim's name is Alice Palmer, a teenage girl that ends up dead in the water. Very much the way Laura Palmer did in David Lynch's masterpiece. It's too bad Joel Anderson and his crew couldn't tell a story quite like David.

The makeup work on Alice's dead body looks great but it's too bad the hollow conclusion doesn't achieve that level as well. It provides no closure and shuts the door on you mid-flip. So many plot holes left gaping as the credits roll and they pile one more on the heap if you fast forward to the end of the credits. Maybe multiple viewings kill the allure but this viewing of Lake Mungo will undoubtedly be my last, and I'm taking a half star with me as I go.

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