The Lodge thinks its rooted in gothic horror when its misery might actually be post-emo. Suicide is predominant in this macabre thriller from Austrian filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronica Franz (Goodnight Mommy) and while it seems to be a topic used to explore the mourning identities of the film’s characters, it’s mostly in existence to add moody atmospheric chills. Surface-level stuff, but very effective.
The film also deals with several degrees of isolation. In an attempt to familiarize herself more with her new family, step-mother-to-be Grace (It Comes at Night’s Riley Keough) goes on holiday to the woods and looks after children Aidan (Jaeden Martell, from the modern It franchise) and Mia (Lia McHugh) while their father/her fiancé Richard (Richard Armitage) leaves temporarily for work. Grace senses the tension in the air. She’s still reeling from her own psychological damage after being the lone survivor of a cult’s highly-publicized spiritual exodus, while the children firmly believe she was the reason their birth mother committed suicide (Alicia Silverstone in a brief but brilliantly heart-wrenching role). Strange disappearances start happening over the course of this mini-vacation, which only makes matters worse for the mental stability of these people.
The Lodge doesn’t leave room for you to breathe. Fiala and Franz keep movie goers squirming with sustained threatening pressure, which is translated as well through creepy cinematography that makes audiences simultaneously feel close yet far from the central conflicts. The actors are also all memorable with their own representations of this dread. The film, however, is a touch too long followed up by a grim ending that will certainly divide audiences.
The Lodge won’t be for everyone, but it’s sinister to the core.
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