Saturday, October 24, 2015

31 Days of Halloween 2015: Day 24

Lake Mungo
Joel Anderson
With the seemingly accidental drowning of sixteen-year-old, Alice (Talia Zucker), her brother Matthew (Martin Sharpe) and family begin to experience strange occurrences around their home. The family looks to a parapsychologist and Matthew sets up cameras to capture whatever is responsible. These clues lead to family to their neighbors, whom Alice used to work for as a babysitter. With each revelation they realize that they didn’t know their daughter at all, and this attempt to try and bring some closure to her death has instead pulled the family into darker and darker places. It is at the site of her death at Lake Mungo that they will come upon the chilling finality of Alice’s life.

Lake Mungo is astonishingly good. Presented in the form of a documentary, it cultivates that sense of realism found footage films often strive for without falling into the narrative traps those same films often prey to. Lake Mungo is quiet and deliberate. I had to stay away from any real spoilers in the plot synopsis and although it sounds like a rote ghost story set-up, it’s the delivery that is really outstanding. There are no jump scares or gore, the horror is built upon creeping realization and dread. Most importantly, the film pays off its unsettling tension and horror in way that is satisfying and absolutely chilling. This is the kind of film many horror fans are looking for, something that isn’t flashy or mindless, but instead evokes actual chills.

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