I saw this movie for the first time last night. My experience with the Afterdark Horrorfest series (AKA 8 Films to Die For) has been a mixed one. I’ve only seen a handful of them, but most of them could simply be described as mediocre. Some were slightly better or slightly worse, but they all hovered around that baseline.
That easily makes Lake Mungo the best of the series.
It’s a supremely unsettling movie. To me, there’s not a more chilling type of movie than a well-done ghost story. They make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. They turn every noise in the house into evidence of the supernatural. This film made me hit pause in the middle and close the door to a room visible from my chair; for all I knew, Alice Palmer was just sitting back there.
The problem with a lot of ghost stories is that they feel the need to use jump scares to keep you interested. A figure can’t just be lurking in the shadows; it has to eventually lunge. It has to scare. Too much of that really takes me out of a movie.
That never really happens here. I kept waiting for Alice to lunge out of the darkness. I kept waiting for this to devolve into a jump-scare fest. But it never did. Alice kept to the shadows. Even the scary stuff was slow reveals; none of it was done in quick movements.
This was done in documentary style, which means we followed the family through it all. We saw the darkness with them, and we unraveled the mystery surrounding Alice’s final months with them. This style fit the film perfectly.
This is also a film that seems to have a high rewatchability factor. After it was over, I just wanted to start it again to catch all the things I missed the first time around. This was a great story with some terrifically creepy moments that will stick with me for a while. If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly suggest that you do.
Just make sure all visible doors are closed first.