I'm a huge fan of horror, but I'm also pretty picky when it comes down to it! Serial killers and other such slasher movies don't faze me at all - sorry, Freddy and Jason - so most of the horror/supernatural thrillers I enjoy involve ghosts, demons, and things of that nature.
Of course, since I've seen/read most of the better-known good stuff, it means that there's not a lot that gets under my skin. Actually, when something is sublimely creepy, it's more of an adrenaline rush than a chill - I'll cackle gleefully at the scary parts while everyone else is screaming.
Which is not to say that nothing scares me, because plenty does! Off the top of my head, a couple movies and shows that have creeped me out: The Shining
, The Devil's Backbone
and The Orphanage
, the Urado arc of Ghost Hunt
, and especially the Ju-on
movies, which I eventually inoculated myself to over time. And I can't forget the first movie to ever really get under my skin: The Sixth Sense
. I was nine or ten years old, and I didn't sleep at all that night.
The movies that get under my skin aren't the ones with relentless scares (well, except maybe The Grudge
), but they're the ones that really get my imagination going. That's the scariest thing about them, I think.
Which, finally, gets me to this rec: Lake Mungo
, an Aussie indie film that the lovely pocky_slash
brought to my attention last night. At first, the ghost story setup seems very standard: a teenage girl (with long black hair, natch) drowns, and her grieving family soon starts experiencing mysterious phenomena in the house. I would have thought it would play out in the usual way, but after reading some of the reviews, I knew it wouldn't. So thankfully, I decided to watch it during the day.Lake Mungo
is recorded in a faux-documentary narrative, much like another recent horror film Paranormal Activity
. I enjoyed the slow build of the latter, and the tension builds even more slowly and effectively in this film. Many of the spooky inciting events from the beginning are only talked about, not shown, and the film is mostly made up of pictures, interviews, and camera footage.
While there are some genuinely creepy images, the film is really building, ever so gradually, up to one real scary moment towards the end that actually made me gasp and recoil. Which I never do! I started the movie with my computer on my lap. But after that moment? I moved it to the end of my bed. It's one of the few examples of horror where they do
reveal the unknown, and it's just as scary as what you imagined, if not more so.
It's not a popcorn horror flick - don't watch it expecting things to jump out with scare chords. But if you want something sublimely unsettling that just digs its way under your skin, Lake Mungo
gets my enthusiastic recommendation.
EDIT: Some spoilers in the comments!