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Lake Mungo: scary or boring?

JivinJeffJones

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Since it's the Halloween season, maybe you can help me out.

Lake Mungo is probably the creepiest movie I've ever seen, and it often pops up in "Most scary movies" lists. But I've noticed there are many people who find it boring and not at all scary. There doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground. It doesn't seem to matter how avid a horror fan they are. I'm trying to figure out if maybe the division is type related. I'm interested that one movie can so thoroughly creep out one horror fan and put another to sleep.

If you've seen it, how did it affect you and what is your type?

Edit: For those of you who haven't watched it and are curious, here's a spoiler-free recent review


It's a movie that's best watched knowing as little about it as possible.
 

Totenkindly

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Since it's the Halloween season, maybe you can help me out.

Lake Mungo is probably the creepiest movie I've ever seen, and it often pops up in "Most scary movies" lists. But I've noticed there are many people who find it boring and not at all scary. There doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground. It doesn't seem to matter how avid a horror fan they are. I'm trying to figure out if maybe the division is type related. I'm interested that one movie can so thoroughly creep out one horror fan and put another to sleep.

If you've seen it, how did it affect you and what is your type?

I haven't seen it or really heard of it (which is rare -- I have seen so many horror films and are aware of most I haven't seen).

After reading the quick reviews, I will add it to my Halloween film list this year and let you know what I think...

(So far this year, I tried to watch "In the Tall Grass" -- meh, only made it 30 minutes in -- and then "Happy Death Day 2U" which is more like comedy-horror, so I'm looking for some better stuff.)

I have noticed this with some other movies, especially in the psychological horror bracket. Some people are into jump scares, other people are tapped into broad feelings of eeriness/dread.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I haven't seen it yet, but will try to find a showing and respond. I mostly responded now to help me find the thread again later.
 

JivinJeffJones

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I haven't seen it or really heard of it (which is rare -- I have seen so many horror films and are aware of most I haven't seen).

After reading the quick reviews, I will add it to my Halloween film list this year and let you know what I think...

(So far this year, I tried to watch "In the Tall Grass" -- meh, only made it 30 minutes in -- and then "Happy Death Day 2U" which is more like comedy-horror, so I'm looking for some better stuff.)

I have noticed this with some other movies, especially in the psychological horror bracket. Some people are into jump scares, other people are tapped into broad feelings of eeriness/dread.

A common denominator in the experience of the people who most enjoyed it was watching it in the dark by yourself. It isn't a watch-with-friends-and-popcorn movie.

I haven't seen it yet, but will try to find a showing and respond. I mostly responded now to help me find the thread again later.

I've heard it's on Amazon Prime at the moment.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I've heard it's on Amazon Prime at the moment.
I think I do have amazon prime for shipping but never use it for videos yet. Ideally I want to go watch a scary movie alone in a theater but I live in a smallish town, so it may not be showing. I could try the amazon prime thing.
 

JivinJeffJones

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I think I do have amazon prime for shipping but never use it for videos yet. Ideally I want to go watch a scary movie alone in a theater but I live in a smallish town, so it may not be showing. I could try the amazon prime thing.

It's from 2008 so I wouldn't like your chances of finding a screening. Especially if you're in a smallish town.
 

Totenkindly

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A common denominator in the experience of the people who most enjoyed it was watching it in the dark by yourself. It isn't a watch-with-friends-and-popcorn movie.

That's kind of my favorite way to watch horror films -- at 1am with all the lights out, alone in the dark.

yeah, I'm a nut :smile:


I wanna see Egges' "The Lighthouse" coming out shortly. (His last film was "The Witch".)

I've heard it's on Amazon Prime at the moment.

It looks like the original 2008 is Rent/Buy on Amazon Prime, and then there is an "After Dark: Lake Mungo" (2010) release for Free Prime. They are the same length. From what I can guess from searching online, I think the 2010 version is the same film, just under the "After Dark" studio... a re-release (?).
 

JivinJeffJones

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That's kind of my favorite way to watch horror films -- at 1am with all the lights out, alone in the dark.

yeah, I'm a nut :smile:

That's the best way for this movie, more than any other one I've seen. I think even having one other person in the room would probably ruin the effect a bit, and you only get one chance to watch a great movie for the first time.

It looks like the original 2008 is Rent/Buy on Amazon Prime, and then there is an "After Dark: Lake Mungo" (2010) release for Free Prime. They are the same length. From what I can guess from searching online, I think the 2010 version is the same film, just under the "After Dark" studio... a re-release (?).

I'm pretty sure they're same movie. After Dark was just the company that distributed it in the US. Most of the After Dark titles were terrible, but Lake Mungo was an unexpected gem. The fact it was released by After Dark probably helped it to stay hidden actually.
 

John Catstentine

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I haven't seen it or really heard of it (which is rare -- I have seen so many horror films and are aware of most I haven't seen).

After reading the quick reviews, I will add it to my Halloween film list this year and let you know what I think...

(So far this year, I tried to watch "In the Tall Grass" -- meh, only made it 30 minutes in -- and then "Happy Death Day 2U" which is more like comedy-horror, so I'm looking for some better stuff.)

I have noticed this with some other movies, especially in the psychological horror bracket. Some people are into jump scares, other people are tapped into broad feelings of eeriness/dread.

Is the tall grass bad? that bums me out, i really like the aesthetic from what Ive seen (I havent seen it yet) I love the idea of the horror of being lost in tall grass, though i spent my childhood playing in fields like that so im fond of plant based adventure
 

Totenkindly

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First things first: Lake Mungo.




Is the tall grass bad? that bums me out, i really like the aesthetic from what Ive seen (I havent seen it yet) I love the idea of the horror of being lost in tall grass, though i spent my childhood playing in fields like that so im fond of plant based adventure

The concept is so freaking great, and the film is best when it just leaves you listening and lost in tall rustling empty grass. Or when you hear people calling for help in the distance but are unable to help them because you can't figure out where they are. (I never got lost in a grass field before, but I did grow up in corn country -- I remember being weirded out by how wild it was to be standing in a row of corn stretching above your head, and you could see super-far down your row but were blocked from seeing anything to your right or left because of the wall of stalks. It was such a weird experience.)

But pretty much any human story in there so far seems to just flatten out the film. It's got the ambiance, it just doesn't seem to have a compelling story.
 

Totenkindly

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I think it's really weird that Joel Anderson never made anything else and the reviewer above can't even find him.

Because really he put this together SO well that basically someone with that talent and focus wouldn't typically just quit after one effort. It's just odd.



EDIT: The reviewer on YouTube included an article from the cinematographer who had reached out to him after seeing his video review. Here's that link, it's interesting:
Lake Mungo – A picture never lies… | johnbrawley
 

JivinJeffJones

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I think it's really weird that Joel Anderson never made anything else and the reviewer above can't even find him.

Because really he put this together SO well that basically someone with that talent and focus wouldn't typically just quit after one effort. It's just odd.



EDIT: The reviewer on YouTube included an article from the cinematographer who had reached out to him after seeing his video review. Here's that link, it's interesting:
Lake Mungo – A picture never lies… | johnbrawley

Thanks for your thoughts. I've had some theories about how type might relate to which people find it creepy and which don't, but I don't know how valid they are. Too few data points. It's good to hear your point of view. It's also tricky since I've heard people say that the first time they watched it was the wrong setting and they weren't impressed, but then they re-watched it alone in the dark and had a completely different experience.

As for Joel Anderson, yeah I think it's a tragedy he hasn't made more movies. It seems this one had terrible distribution and was a complete financial bomb, so maybe he took it to heart? It's had a word-of-mouth cult following for years, and prior to its recent streaming I'd guess most people who had seen it did so via pirating since that was the only way to see it.
 

Totenkindly

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Thanks for your thoughts. I've had some theories about how type might relate to which people find it creepy and which don't, but I don't know how valid they are. Too few data points. It's good to hear your point of view. It's also tricky since I've heard people say that the first time they watched it was the wrong setting and they weren't impressed, but then they re-watched it alone in the dark and had a completely different experience.

As for Joel Anderson, yeah I think it's a tragedy he hasn't made more movies. It seems this one had terrible distribution and was a complete financial bomb, so maybe he took it to heart? It's had a word-of-mouth cult following for years, and prior to its recent streaming I'd guess most people who had seen it did so via pirating since that was the only way to see it.

Dunno if you are still around, but thought I would drop that Lake Mungo is coming out on bluray re-release. Not sure if it is region free.

Lake Mungo Limited Edition Blu-ray
 

Totenkindly

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Region Free.

This just moved to my "must buy" list.

Special Features and Technical Specs:
Archive audio commentary by Producer David Rapsey and DoP John Brawley
New audio commentary by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Emma Westwood
Captured Spirits: an interview with DoP John Brawley
Ghost in the Machine: an interview with Producer David Rapsey
A Cop and a Friend: an interview with Actors Carole Patullo & James Lawson
Kindred Spirits: Filmmakers Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead on Lake Mungo
Hosting Spirits: Filmmaker Rob Savage on Lake Mungo
Simulacra and Spirits: a video essay by film academic Josh Nelson
Autopsy of a Family Home: a video essay by filmmaker Joseph Wallace
Deleted Scenes
English SDH subtitles for the hearing impaired
REGION-FREE
 

Abcdenfp

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That's kind of my favorite way to watch horror films -- at 1am with all the lights out, alone in the dark.

yeah, I'm a nut :smile:


I wanna see Egges' "The Lighthouse" coming out shortly. (His last film was "The Witch".)



It looks like the original 2008 is Rent/Buy on Amazon Prime, and then there is an "After Dark: Lake Mungo" (2010) release for Free Prime. They are the same length. From what I can guess from searching online, I think the 2010 version is the same film, just under the "After Dark" studio... a re-release (?).

i want to see both his movies, the lighthouse and the witch. but I am super excited to see the northman by egger

will look for after dark: Lake Mungo

I have a love hate relationship with scary movies, I cant sleep after but like being scared to sleep lol
 

John Catstentine

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I haven't seen it or really heard of it (which is rare -- I have seen so many horror films and are aware of most I haven't seen).

After reading the quick reviews, I will add it to my Halloween film list this year and let you know what I think...

(So far this year, I tried to watch "In the Tall Grass" -- meh, only made it 30 minutes in -- and then "Happy Death Day 2U" which is more like comedy-horror, so I'm looking for some better stuff.)

I have noticed this with some other movies, especially in the psychological horror bracket. Some people are into jump scares, other people are tapped into broad feelings of eeriness/dread.

Man I really wanted in the tall grass to be good. It should have been a slam dunk, lost in tall grass is kind of a legit horror show irl depending, but its one i gladly subject myself to again and again because life feels more magical when you cant see over the top of grass.
 

Totenkindly

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My copy of Lake Mungo (non region specific) is in the mail as of last week! Woot!

EDIT: Double woot! It arrived today, looks nice on screen, and has a ton of extras on the disk (including an interview with Justin Benson and Aaron Morehead, who make low budget eerie films like Spring, although most people might have heard of Synchronic, their most recent pic with Mackee and Dornan). There's even a nice little book with it. And all region free.
 
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