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DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest IV – Lake Mungo
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Lake Mungo
DIRECTOR: Joel Anderson
STARRING: Talia Zucker, Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Steve Jodrell
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2010

For four straight years now, After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For has been unleashed. Eight original horror films to quench your thirst for blood and gore and screams galore. Last year I was able to check out and review their third collection of horrors (Read: DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest III: 8 Films To Die For), and was rather excited to check out their new slate this year! Instead of cramming every review into one mammoth review, this year we’ll take it one flick at a time, with this little opener stuck at the top of each one.

Most of the movies that you’ll see when watching an After Dark Horrorfest title will involve a whole lot of graphic violence and some pretty horrific other-worldly beings. And while that’s expected and usually pretty entertaining to a horror fan, Lake Mungo brings a completely different and rather refreshing tone to the table.

The movie tells the story of a young girl named Alice (Talia Zucker) who mysteriously disappears while swimming with her family at a local dam. It takes some time, but eventually search and rescue teams discover her body. At first the family thought that was the sad and tragic end of it, but when her brother Matthew (Martin Sharpe) feels she might not be gone and sets up cameras, haunting evidence leads the family to wonder just what’s going on. One step after the other, a dark side to their daughter’s life becomes more clear, and the family must put it all in place and find a way to move on with their own lives.

Lake Mungo is more of a thriller than a horror, but there are plenty of spooks to be had. The movie is presented in a mostly documentary-style where friends and family members discuss the events of Alice’s death. After cameras are set up, many creepy images and video of what is suspected as the girl’s ghost are shown, and these are really, really well-done. If you’ve seen any of the multiple paranormal shows on TV — whether you believe what they show or not — you know that a convincing ghostly image is very effective in giving a viewer chills, and many are to be enjoyed here. These mysterious findings are built from as much evidence is gathered and people give their views on the strange happenings. It’s really the documentary feel that sells the whole movie for me.

I couldn’t help but love Lake Mungo just because it was so different…an unexpected treat. I go into as many movies as I can without knowing anything about them or watching the trailers, and this helps a great deal in letting a movie be whatever it needs to be. There were certain things that bothered me, but I don’t want to discuss them as spoilers would come hand-in-hand. All I will say is after the movie had won me over with its subtly haunting style, something happened that damaged what they had built. I can’t tell you how much I wish they had stuck to where it seemed to be going, but alas, it was what it was. You know they started with an idea and went with it, and that has to be respected as a viewer.

Still, overall, this is a movie that anyone who enjoys ghost stories should really check out. I think you’ll enjoy what you see for the most part, and goosebumps are all but guaranteed.


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