- Director:Joel Anderson
- Cast:Chloe Armstong, Tamara Donnellan, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker
- Release Date:July 30, 2009
- Distributor:Mungo Films
- Running time:88 minutes
- Film Worth:$13.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Despite being shot on a next to nothing budget, Lake Mungo proves that first time director Joel Anderson is one to watch.
When describing Joel Anderson's debut feature film, Lake Mungo, it's hard not to make comparisons with The Blair Witch Project. It plays out as if it's a documentary, and it's also a ghost story. Any comparisons, however, do Lake Mungo a grave injustice: one film is a hoax, a media and internet beat-up delivered without a trace of talent, while the other signals the arrival of an important filmmaker. It may be overstating it, but Anderson's command of cinematic language is right up there with Bryan Singer's audacious bag of tricks in The Usual Suspects.
In what is a barely masked Twin Peaks reference, Lake Mungo kicks off with the remaining three members of the Palmer family - mother June (Rosie Traynor), father Russell (David Pledger) and son Mathew (Martin Sharpe) - talking about the tragic accident of December 2005, which changed their lives forever. Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker), beloved sixteen-year-old daughter and sister, drowned in a dam in the country Victorian town of Ararat, where the family live. Then something really strange happened...
Yes, Lake Mungo has no stars; yes, it's no action or fright fest, and yes it was made on the budget of Brad Pitt's hair product on Burn After Reading, but for Australian cinema's sake, a filmmaker of Joel Anderson's skill needs to be nurtured. Unlike Bryan Singer's aforementioned cult fave (his second feature by the way), Anderson has respect for his audience's intelligence, but perhaps that's his failing. After countless logical twists and turns, Lake Mungo's ultimate conclusion is respectful of the audience's initial investment in the story, leaving you to ponder the ghosts that live beside us.