Lake Mungo (2008)

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Released 2-Dec-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary
Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 83:42
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joel Anderson
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Talia Zucker
Rosie Traynor
David Pledger
Martin Sharpe
Steve Jodrell
Tamara Donnellan
Scott Terrill
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

    Told in an authentic documentary style, Lake Mungo unfolds the mystery behind the death of a 16 year old girl as it tells the story of a peculiar haunting. After tragically drowning while swimming at a local dam during a family picnic, Alice Palmer's (Talia Zucker) spirit appears to be visiting her family, parents, June and Russell, and brother Mathew. Her image appears in photographs taken around the house. She appears to walk through video footage shot in the house. Her appearances are never threatening but, understandably, unnerve the family. These unusual visitations prompt the family to enlist the advice of radio psychic Ray Kemeny (Steve Jodrell). The four discover that Alice led a double life, hiding all manner of secrets from family and friends, and to an bizarre episode at the eerie Lake Mungo.

    Although that sounds like a relatively vague plotline, to give away any more would be a disservice. The story evolves quite dynamically on screen and to give much more away would spoil the fascinating journey the film takes its viewers on.

    Lake Mungo plays out like a sinister episode of ABC documentary series Australian Story. The film never gets to the point of jump-out-of-your-seat scares, but builds up bone-chilling eerie mood and riveting intrigue. The story is magnificently told and surprisingly well acted by its cast of largely unknown actors (the most recognisable of them, Steve Jodrell, is better known for his directing gigs). It undoubtedly helps that any awkward acting due to stage fright fits well into the average-Joe being interviewed for a documentary shtick. Regardless, what ends up on the screen would be near impossible to differentiate from a legitimate doco and is utterly fascinating. This story will keep viewers glued to the screen as it evolves before them.

    It is an unfortunate case that Lake Mungo had no substantial theatrical release in Australia, particularly as it is about to get a noteworthy touring release as part of the After Dark Horrorfest (an annual travelling indie horror festival) lineup for 2010 in the USA. The film is brilliantly made and told in a manner that should find wide appeal. Its spooky vibe will appeal to anyone that enjoys a bit of the supernatural and never opts for cheap scares that put off a lot of viewers who normally dislike the horror genre. Essential viewing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The film was shot on a wide range of formats (in the order of 40 different cameras were used, including 16mm, 35mm, Super 8 and VHS), resembling the look of the TV documentaries its style emulates, and this DVD offers a near-flawless interpretation of that original source. The image is clear and, when it wants to be, quite sharp. Only very fine grain is present in the image, save for shots where it has been deliberately amplified. Mock stock-footage and handicam footage are used for effect, all of which look just as you would expect material from those sources to look. Kudos is due for the effort put into capturing such a wide range of visual styles authentically.

    No film artefacts are visible. There is no sign of aliasing or pixelation.

    This is a RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring seamlessly at 52:02.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) and DTS audio tracks.

    The audio is clear and well mixed. Dialogue is easy to discern and wel synchronised to the video.

    Keeping with the documentary style of the film, there is not a great deal to the music or much in the way of surround speaker usage. The surrounds are occasionally used to enhance "found" footage segments, which is just right for the atmosphere of the film. The soundtrack features a good amount of clean bottom end that reaches the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary

    Producer David Rapsey and Cinematographer John Brawley provide a consistently interesting, if a little technical, commentary. Well worth a listen for fans of the film and budding filmmakers.

Deleted Scenes

    Nothing terribly exciting in this lot, just more of the same that was presumably cut to tighten the pace of the flick.

Trailer

    A fairly run-of-the-mill trailer for the film that, thankfully, gives nothing too important away.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film has not yet been released outside of Region 4.

Summary

    An eerie low-key ghost story, one of the best in years.

    Video and audio are excellent. The modest range of extras are worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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