Lake Mungo ★★½

Like many ghost stories, Lake Mungo is about grief, its apparitions manifestations of its characters’ inability to accept their loss; and like many ghost stories, its emotional core is overshadowed by its spook factor. And that’s fine. Lake Mungo’s misstep is in its approach to being a mystery thriller, loaded with nonsensical twists and arbitrary red herrings, none of which coalesce into a remotely satisfying resolution. At one point, a woman who has spent the entire film being haunted by her dead daughter (or has she?) speculates that the whole affair was the girl’s way of telling her family “who she really was,” which is puzzling news indeed for anyone who’s been watching. After spending 88 minutes playing Where’s Waldo? with her spectral visage in countless grainy images, we never really learn anything of substance about the film’s central character.