Lake Mungo is a 2008 Australian horror film. Sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer drowns while swimming in the local dam. When her body is recovered and a verdict of accidental death returned, her grieving family buries her. The family then experiences a series of strange and inexplicable events centered around their home. Profoundly unsettled, the Palmers seek the help of psychic and parapsychologist, Ray Kemeny. Kemeny discovers that Alice led a double life. A series of clues lead the family to Lake Mungo where Alice's secret past emerges.
The film was part of the After Dark Horrorfest film festival. An American Foreign Remake was to be expected out sometime in 2011, from the folks behind The Ring but it appears to be in Development Hell.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Ghostly Goals: Alice wants her family to find out about her secrets and ultimately understand her.
- Jitter Cam: Averted, except for the cell phone footage.
- Mind Screw: A lot of things in this film will leave you with a lot to think about. What caused those bruises on Matthew? Was it self-harm? What really gave Alice those dreams? Was is just hallucinations? Was it because she may have been pregnant ("the sick feeling")? What created the figure at Lake Mungo? It couldn't have just been hallucinations since she actually filmed it. So was the lake cursed? Did it slowly Mind Rape her and kill her, or was the whole thing as mundane as "a guilt-wracked and very misunderstood girl slowly loses her sanity and commits suicide"?
- Mood Whiplash: After The Reveal of the sex tape and discussion of it with Alice's family, the interview segment with Alice's friends takes place at a public pool, with said friends in bikinis.
- Nothing Is Scarier: No gore, no Scare Chord, no Peek-a-Boo Corpse, the solemn atmosphere that remains for most of the film is just chilling.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Alice's ghost is pretty standard with the exception that she saw her own ghost before she died.
- Parental Issues: Alice's family and friends never actually truly understood her.
- Psychological Horror
- Re-Cut: The American release of the film is based on a rough cut of the film while the Australian release was a shorter and tighter cut prepared by the director. The shorter version is generally considered the better one.
- Rule of Symbolism: Both Alice and June (Alice's mother) had an interview with Ray, and during their hypnotic trances, they were both asked to go into their house and walk around. Alice described that she went to her room and sat on her chair, while June also described herself walking into Alice's room, and Alice continued to describe seeing her mother walking in. This implies that although their trances took place at different times, they were parallel. However, In Alice's trance, she describes that June came into the room, looked around, but left, oblivious to her presence. In June's trance, she described herself coming into the room, seeing it empty, and leaves. Showing us that the daughter waited for the mother, she wanted her to understand her more, but the mother never saw it, she was oblivious to the daughter's true feelings.
- Scenery Porn
- Stepford Smiler: Alice, Type A, summed up by the line, "Alice kept secrets, and she kept the fact that she kept secrets, a secret."
- Your Days Are Numbered: Alice saw her own corpse (and filmed it on her cell phone) while on a class trip to Lake Mungo.