There’s something about this film….I don’t know…
I know some will hate this kind of movie because they think all horror movies should be a certain aesthetic…and usually that aesthetic is extreme. That’s fine and good, especially for others who share that aesthetic. But I know many will dismiss this film simply because it’s not flashy or bloody or graphically violent. What it is is a Slow Burn.
A Slow Burn is when information you are given doesn’t really click until much later and it usually culminates in an extreme effect or emotional revelation. Lake Mungo is an Australian ghost story in the guise of a documentary of a true event (which always cracks me up when at the end of the credits you see “All the characters and events in this film are fictional. Any resemblance to anyone living is entirely coincidental”).
It’s very well-acted. The information about a girl’s death (Alice) appears at first a simple case of drowning. As the family struggles with their loss, the film slowly unfolds a secret life that Alice was leading and some interesting, yet speculative evidence of something going on with her ghost and something she buries at Lake Mungo on an outing there with her friends. It’s not the most earthshattering revelation in film history, but if the intention of this film is to creep its audience out…it succeeds in a very original way. Much like the creepy and abrupt ending of the Blair Witch Project and that guy standing in the corner.
Yes, it’s slow but the pace is constant. Just when you think you’ve “Got it” there’s another layer peeled back and the mystery of Alice reels in another direction. The Slow Burn works longer after the ending if you allow it to and that, for me, is what good filmmaking is all about.