Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Horror Movie Countdown to Halloween: Lake Mungo

In honor of Halloween Week, I am listing some of my favorite creep-o movies. I tried not to pick the obvious choices to add a little diversity from all the other Halloween movie lists...

Lake Mungo

When was the last time a horror movie made you feel something; not just yell out in shock, or cringe in grossness, or roll your eyes at how fucking stupid the movie was--I'm talking about actually feeling something real.

Lake Mungo is that type of horror movie.

I suppose the term "horror movie" could be used loosely to describe Lake Mungo; this isn't a movie that is trying to terrify you or make you jump in your seat. This is a movie that is a surprisingly touching, heartfelt exploration on the horror of grief and loss. But there's more to it than that.

Let's get this out of the way first: Yes, this is a "found footage" or "mockumentary" type horror movie. Like them or not, they are here to stay. Just this past weekend Paranormal Activity 3 made 1 Bajillion Trillion Dollars (sources needed), so found footage movies aren't going away any time soon.

But please, if you are one of those people who says "UGH, i hate those type of movies! Blair Witch and shit!", I implore you to give this movie a chance.

Lake Mungo takes place in Australia, and is about the death of Alice Palmer and the mysteries that surround her life, death...and after-life.

Alice is a happy seeming 16 year old who goes on a swimming trip with her family one day, and drowns. We're never told exactly how she drowned, because her family doesn't know. She was there one moment, and then the next, she was gone.

As is to be expected, the Palmer family is devastated. Mother June actually begins taking long walks late at night and breaking into people's houses. Father Russell internalizes everything and doesn't show emotion, and Alice's teenage brother Mathew begins experimenting with video-making. And it's through Mathew's new-found obsessive hobby that the family begins to suspect that while Alice may be dead, she might not be gone.

To tell you more would spoil things. What you might think is  going to be a simple ghost story turns into an expose on the nature of keeping secrets. As one of Alice's friends says during an interview, "Alice kept secrets. She kept the fact that she kept secrets a secret."  

I was raised on horror movies. At a young age I was watching movies that, quite frankly, I probably shouldn't have been watching. I suppose my 20+ years of horror film watching has numbed me a bit to being scared.

This movie scared me.

Lake Mungo seeps under your skin. It's like a cold draft in your house that slowly begins to increase to the point where it chills the very marrow of your bones. An overwhelming feeling of dread accompanies the film, and also sadness.

The more time we spend with the Palmer family, the more we like them. The performances in this movie are fantastic, because no one here seems like an actor. They all seem like real people--and they also seem like a real family.

As the film slowly unravels the details of Alice's life, I actually found myself feeling sad that she died so young. Then I had to remind myself that there is no Alice, it was just an actress playing a part. But the movie sucks you in, and you begin to forget that this is all fiction.

I can not stress this enough: If you like horror movies, and are longing for a break from terrible, generic bullshit, WATCH THIS MOVIE. It's on Netflix Instant RIGHT NOW, so if you have Netflix GO WATCH IT. 

And keep watching during the end credits--the images revealed during them will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up in fear.

No comments:

Post a Comment