Death takes everything eventually. It’s the meanest, dumbest machine there is, and it just keeps coming and it doesn’t care.
Lake Mungo feels much less like a typical frightening horror film and more like an exploration of grief. Until the first and only real jump-scare, the mockumentary relies on substantial tension and suspense until it is finally released.
Alice is a girl who keeps secrets from her friends and family to the extent that nobody knows who she truly is, including the film’s viewers. She feels misunderstood, distant, and alone, as shown through her diary entries and meetings with Ray. She is also the victim of sexual abuse, hidden from those she loves until discovered on tape after her untimely death. Nobody knew Alice, and the movie shifts that onto the audience through its intentional obscurity surrounding her.
I feel like something bad is going to happen to me. I feel like something bad has happened. It hasn’t reached me yet but it’s on its way.
Lake Mungo is not terrifying in that you will close your eyes or gasp aloud; it’s the somber yet sinister portrayal of suffering after a mysterious family loss that shakes you to your core and leaves a disturbing, dreadful taste in your mouth. That being said, I did leave the film wanting something more.