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Lake Mungo

Australia 2008
produced by
George Nevile, David Rapsey, [William Coleman (executive), Gilbert George (executive), Robert George (executive) for Mungo Productions, Screen Australia, SBS Independent
directed by Joel Anderson
starring Talia Zucker, Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Steve Jodrell, Tamara Donnellan, Scott Terrill, Chloe Armstrong, Charles Armytage, Helen Bath, Phillip Boltyn, Kimberly Bumpstead, Stephanie Capiron, Marcus Costello, Robin Cuming, Natasha Herbert, Richard Kelly, James Lawson, Tania Lentini, Glenn Luck, Tammy McCarthy, Kirsty McDonald, Sara Moroney, Carole Patullo, Judith Roberts, Michael Robinson, Anika Steel, Cameron Strachan, Courtney Te'ray, Simon Wilton
written by Joel Anderson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker) has drowned, and for her family - mom June (Rosie Traynor), dad Russell (David Pledger) and brother Mathew (Martin Sharpe) - it's hard to come to terms with her death, and it seems she is somehow still present in the house - a fact that seems to be corroborated by the fact that her image regularly shows up on photos and in videos shot around the house. A psychic, Ray (Steve Jodrell) is called in to investigate, but he can do very little other than to offer comfort ... but then it's found out that all the photos and videos were only fabricated by Mathew for whatever reason.

Even after that, the family doesn't stop to feel Alice's presence, and going through Mathew's forged videos once more, they actually find another figure in one of them, who turns out to be not Alice either but their neighbour (Scott Terrill), whose place Alice has babysitted at. But what's he doing in Alice's room?

Eventually, Alice's family goes through her things, and they find an incriminating video of Alice having threeway sex with the neighbour and his wife (Tamara Donnellan) - a criminal offence since Alice was still underage at the time. This matter is of course brought to the police, but the neighbour has long moved to another part of the country.

Going through Alice's diary, mom June finds a mention of Lake Mungo, where Alice was on a school trip, and by looking at cellphone videos made by her classmates at that trip, Alice's family comes to the conclusion she must have buried something while on the trip, go to Lake Mungo, find the spot and dig up Alice's cellphone - on which they find a video in which Alice seems to meet her own (dead) future self - the Alice who has drowned - which understandably got her off the rails ...

Having found the video, Alice's family is finally able to move on - but somehow her spirit stays in the family home ...


In writing, this may sound mighty interesting, even if more than a little derivative of Twin Peaks - yet on screen, we are presented with something completely else, no weirdness at all, no suspense, no tension, no nothing, just talking heads. No really, this film is conceived as a mock documentary, with mainly all of those invovled being interviewed, telling the story we actually expected to see - and above everything else, this is just mighty boring, but it's also inexplicable why the filmmakers chose this way to tell their story (apart from budgetary reasons), it really derives the plot of all its wonderful possibilities and makes the film as a whole seem like an unkept promise.

Totally not worth your while.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD