VOD film review: Lake Mungo
James R | On 31, Oct 2021
Director: Joel Anderson
Cast: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe
Where to watch Lake Mungo online in the UK: Shudder UK
Strange things start happening after a girl is found drowned in a lake. That’s the plot of Lake Mungo in a nutshell, but what seems like a simple, familiar horror on the surface pack a scary, and surprisingly moving, punch.
The film takes a mockumentary approach to its subject matter, introducing us to the aftermath of the death of Alice (Talia Zucker), who is found drowned near the town Ararat, Victoria. We watch as Russell (David Pledger), her father, June (Rosie Traynor), her mother, and Matthew (Martin Sharpe), her brother, attempt to come to terms with her death and what led to it.
While the format might be another reason for horror fans to push this to one side, the low-budget thriller avoids the obvious jump-scares to deliver something less outright terrifying than The Blair Witch Project, but much more atmospheric – here, the dread creeps up on you slowly, building on the tangible grief of the family throughout the short but patiently paced runtime.
By the time you begin to wonder whether strange goings-on and a blurry, Alice-shaped figure in family photographs is actually Alice or not – the family even hires a psychic to help them process this possibility – the film has already got its hooks into you, and what unfolds is a heart-wrenching, deceptively twisting tale of a family that never really connected, of trying to move on from the past even while being trapped by the future. Found footage films wish they could all have this kind of emotional impact.
Lake Mungo is available to stream online on Shudder UK, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, or £49.99 yearly membership.