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Lake Mungo (2008)

Every once in a while I find myself watching a film that feels fresh and unique, be that with its story telling, cinematography or even the way it casts it characters. I'm not saying that 'Lake Mungo' is in any way ground breaking. But, this is my first experience with the true crime documentary style way of telling a story (especially within the horror genre) and being a true crime documentary fan, I was completely captivated with the creative way in which this was filmed.

From the moment this started I was immediately invested and the more the case unfolded, the more my curiosity grew. The story itself takes on multiple twists and turns as the story of Alice Palmer's disappearance progressed, feeling very much like David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' from the opening scene onwards. Each and every reveal grows in strangeness, before ultimately culminating on one of the most subtly satisfying endings I have seen to a horror film in recent years. I did however find the ending itself left me with a few lingering questions, but also provided enough answers for me not to feel to dissatisfied by its ambiguity.

Being filmed in the same way you would expect most true crime documentary to be filmed helped provide true authenticity to this production. Several times throughout, I found myself losing sight of the fact that this is a film and not a real documentary. The director does a very convincing job of telling this story, featuring Interviews, news footage, crime scene photographs and set location reenactment shots. There is a distinctive difference in quality of the film when switching between the older, more dated archive footage and the current day interview footage, and it's subtleties like this that only amplified my experience with this film.

I found the cast to be great, having unrecognisable faces really helps provide a sense of authenticity and realism to the documentary style of story telling used here, the character Matt played by Martin Sharpe, and his mother played by Rosie Traynor, being the strongest performing actors of the main cast. Yet, it was Alice's boyfriend Jason, played by Marcus Costello who is by far the most convincing and genuine. It was criminal to me that he was not given more screen time. His performance was so good I was expecting him to play a much more pivotal role in the ultimate plot revelation.

Overall, I found this entertaining and was enthralled by the mystery and intrigue from start to finish. This is definitely going to require another rewatch, if not multiple rewatches, due to the credit sequence alone. There are numerous images in the final sequence that show up on screen that are featured predominantly throughout the film, only this time, your eye is drawn to different parts of the image, revealing things you would never have caught the first time around. I'm sure these images will have been there all along, but I need to give it a second look just out of pure curiosity. If you are are a true crime documentary fan, or even someone who can appreciate different forms of story telling, than I strongly recommend 'Lake Mungo'.



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