Thursday, September 29, 2011

#419. Lake Mungo (2008)

Directed By: Joel Anderson

Starring: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe

Tag line: "If you've never seen a ghost... Look closer"

Presented as if it were a documentary, Lake Mungo tells the tragic story of Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker), a vibrant 16-year-old who mysteriously disappears one afternoon during a family outing. After several days of not knowing what happened to their daughter, Russell ( David Pledger) and June Palmer (Rosie Traynor) receive the distressing news that Alice's body was discovered at the bottom of a lake, where she apparently drowned. But her story doesn't end there. Over the course of the next several weeks, the Palmer family, which also includes a teenage son named Matthew (Martin Sharpe), start to question whether or not Alice is truly dead. A picture taken very near the area where her body was discovered seems to contain an image of Alice, and the family itself believes they've encountered her a number of times within the family home. But is Alice truly alive, or is it simply her spirit reaching out for help?

Within it's plethora of interviews and still photographs, Writer / Director Joel Anderson has crafted Lake Mungo into a motion picture that fits neatly into the horror genre, yet contains all the best elements of a family drama as well. From the hidden camera footage of what appears to be Alice's spirit roaming the halls of the Palmer house, there springs a mystery, one that initially presents more questions than it can answer. It's through their search for evidence of the supernatural that the Palmers slowly uncover details of their daughter's troubled life, revealing a young girl with a good many secrets, some of which may even help to explain her death. Each new twist in Alice's story adds another level to the enigma surrounding her, and her family is left to cope with not only the loss of a child, but one who might ultimately have been a stranger to them. 

The tale of Alice Palmer is full of twists and turns, most of which lead down some very dark roads. The Palmers, who must brave this darkness if they're to have any hope at all of piecing together their daughter's life, must also deal with the fact that these troubling avenues they now explore together are the same ones Alice traversed alone. It's very possible her spirit continues to visit them, all the while looking for a resolution she will never find. Hitting its mark continuously, Lake Mungo is a horror film that will unnerve you on many different levels.

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