I know it’s like completely opposite of how you’re supposed to do this, but I find that there are very few things more satisfying than curling up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee on a chilly autumn morning and popping on a horror movie. Totally takes you out of it, but it’s so good. So relaxing. So much easier on big babies who are afraid of the dark.
I stumbled upon this one on Netflix when I had intended to log into watch an episode or two of The Haunting of Bly Manor, and when I read the description, it just sounded too stupid not to watch! It’s about a woman who signs up for a nanny job, only to discover that her charge is actually just a doll. What a terrible premise!
But you know what? I think it actually works, to a degree. The mystery of exactly what’s going on with the doll and the house is interesting and hinted at here and there without ever giving away the big twist. Some of the plot points are obvious and clichéd, but I liked how it ended. It’s a twist I’ve seen before, but done in different ways. Also, there’s a scene where the main character tries to show her romantic interest that the doll moves on its own when nobody’s looking, and it actually happens. In almost any other movie, the doll would refuse to move, and the guy would just go on thinking that the main girl is nuts, until the point when the doll murders him. But no! Huzzah! Good on you, The Boy, for subverting at least one of my expectations!
So, praises aside, there’s one teensy-weensie problem: if you spend too much (any) time thinking about it, the big twist doesn’t make any goddamn sense. Like, it makes a certain amount of sense in and of itself, but invalidates almost everything that had happened up until that point. Character motivations become inexplicable. Prior events become illogical. I think what I’m getting at here is, watch this movie exactly once and just enjoy the ride. Don’t think about it too deeply and never watch it again, or else it’ll just completely fall apart.
Another recommendation from the Purple Stuff Podcast. The funny thing is that I was listening to an old episode from 2015, and completely forgot that I had taken that recommendation before and watched this movie in 2015. It wasn’t even until more than halfway through that something finally snapped in my head and I was like “Hey! I’ve watched this before!”
Lake Mungo is a ghost story shot as a documentary. I want to say “mockumentary” but I think that implies some manner of comedic intent. There’s nothing at all funny about this. It’s about a family whose daughter drowns on a trip to the beach, and then the escapades that ensue when her ghost starts haunting their house. Only nothing is quite as it seems! There are twists, and turns, and major revelations abound!
While the format keeps the film moving at a fairly slow pace, and makes it so that scares are very few and far between, it works really well. The atmosphere is foreboding, and the story is interesting. It also turns out to be quite sad by the end, which is not something you get from a lot of horror. Lake Mungo is unique in a lot of ways, and while it’s not the most exciting watch, I think its a legitimately good film. I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re open to something vastly different than the usual horror fare.
Considering how much I liked it, it’s more than a little surprising that I had completely forgotten that I’d seen it before!!