(The ARCANUM feature is my attempt to present some of my older write-ups to newer Good and Most Beloved and Precious Readers)
LAKE MUNGO is a found footage / documentary style slow burner that I REALLY liked. It doesn’t have anything to do with that stylish looking cover poster above but it does have to do with a missing girl and ‘ghosts in the photographs’ that actually kind of inspired me to start making the headers I have been making the last few moths. Anyway, I present it again here, remastered in HD (and spell checked) with some pictures that weren’t found on the original. I hope you enjoy!
I really like that movie poster (above), even though it has absolutely nothing at all to do with this movie I just watched. The movie I just watched is documentary style, ala “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, and dozens of others, but this one centers around various media used by the grieving family that records the presence of their dead daughter’s ghost – or do they? This movie is not at all “scary” and has no special effects regarding blood or gore, this is an attempt at an eerie ghost story surrounding the family and residents of a small town in Australia as they all work to recover from the drowning death of the daughter, Alice. I really liked the unknown actors, and their acting, I liked the film work, the use of different media and even the score. The only thing I could have hoped was different, considering the story, is that it was a little less boring. I know this isn’t an action movie, or slasher for that matter, but I found myself distracted often, waiting for something else to try and spook me.
Well – unless you are animal life, you’re heard or seen something about the “ghost in the photograph” for years. That’s what this movie is all about. Alice Palmer drowns in a lake (not Lake Mungo) and the family goes about telling their story to the media. They talk about this and that and then mention “That’s when the photo of the back yard was developed” – a landscape featuring what appears to be the ghost of the daughter. Then they talk about this and that and how they are trying to recover and then “That’s when the lake’s water surveyor’s photo showed up” showing what appears to be the ghost sitting on a log out by where she died. Then they talk about hearing noises in the house and they install video cameras, then the shadowy blot moves across the screen, etc. Eventually we get two sub stories that worked for me and the family, through Alice’s calendar, and her friend’s camera phone video, head down to the vacation spot Lake Mungo to dig up what her friend videoed her burying. Here we get to the big payoff and the conclusion. What worked for me the best was, after 87 minutes, what the filmmakers do through the end credits (and even one shot after the credits close).
If you’re going to watch this, after the big payoff of Alice’s camera phone video, the REAL payday is the imagery through the end credits, so you’ll want to stick around for those. Otherwise, you’ll probably just be feeling like, “Eh, I guess it was OK…” but with this stuff, you might feel like me, like “Hey – that’s pretty clever after all, good job.” Since I normally like to go with the “alternative” movie poster than what we usually get, but I really liked the one they marketed this with (above), here’s the alternate that more or less is the premise of the whole thing, the ghost in the picture: