Review: Lake Mungo (2009)

Directed by Joel Anderson

Starring: Talia Zucker, Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe

As Blair Witch is to The Shining and Cloverfield is to Godzilla, so Lake Mungo is to Picnic at Hanging Rock. In that Australian gothic classic, four schoolgirls went into the Outback; only one came back. This time, the four members of the Palmer family go for a swim, but only daughter Alice (Zucker) never makes it back to shore.

Less faux vérité than its horror mockumentary brood mates, this taut ghost shocker plays like a polished doc, weaving interviews with found footage as the family explores the strange circumstances of their daughter’s drowning and the even stranger glimpses of her in videos and photos taken after her death. Take away the creeping sense of supernatural dread, and what remains is a low-key tale of a mourning family, made more tender by the broken stoicism of the survivors.

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