Monday, March 22, 2010

Lake Mungo (2008)

Lake Mungo (2008) is a restrained low-budget Australian ghost story, with a sprinkling of creepy moments.  It's filmed largely as a post-haunting interview, with good use of grainy cell-phone and home video footage.

Alice is a high school girl who drowns during a day out with her family.  However, a series of unexplained sightings on video footage and pictures makes her parents believe she's alive.  The plot follows her parents and brother as they investigate the truth. They discover a young girl who in her last few weeks tried to cope with unsettling visions, but was unable to confide in her family

The movie slowly unwinds its way to a genuinely creepy ending, but a plot point concerning her sexual antics goes nowhere and is peripheral to the main events.

The movie struck me as remarkably confident - it slowly reveals plot elements, giving each time to settle in before the next revelation.  I'm sure part of this was due to the limited budget, but this works in the movie's favor; performances and a steady build-up are emphasized instead of fancy effects.

The writer-director Joel Anderson is now remaking the film for Hollywood.  Let's hope he manages to keep the restrained feel of the movie while making the most of the bigger budget.

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