THE LODGE Review – Snow Problem
Staci Layne Wilson’s The Lodge review says it’s both chilling and chilly — a cold winter’s must-see.
If you like weird, wintry chillers, then The Lodge should be on your list of must-sees. Using a harsh and unforgiving landscape as the backdrop to an isolated dwelling to great effect (think: The Shining or The Thing), directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala have made an effective follow-up to their 2014 cult hit, Goodnight Mommy. Once again, the duo pits two kids against a mysterious mother figure and they hit many Freudian high notes along the way.
Grace (Riley Keough, The Earthquake Bird) is the sole survivor of a history-making mass suicide by a Christian sect run by her zealous father. In the years since, she’s become something of a mini-celebrity and the subject of books and articles. Now twenty-something, she’s dating one of the journalists who covered her story—much older Richard (Richard Armitage, The Stranger), who is more than happy to step in as her father-figure. But he’s already a dad, so this new relationship causes complications with his 10-year-old daughter Mia (Lia McHugh, American Woman) and 13-year-old son Aiden (Jaeden Martell, Stephen King’s IT). The cast-aside wife, Laura (Alicia Silverstone, American Woman), takes it the hardest.
But this is not a family drama. It’s a horror movie and once Richard, Grace, and the kids get to the snow-surrounded lodge for a getting-to-know-you Christmas vacation, things take an eerie turn. For one thing, Grace isn’t as together as she seems. Still scarred from her bizarre childhood trauma, she is now dependent on anti-psychic meds. It’s a tense retreat made worse when Richard is called away to attend to a work-related emergency. It’s just Grace and the kids with no one else for miles around and a big storm brewing on the horizon. As you can imagine, it will not be a happy holiday.
While the premise and setup are intriguing, The Lodge is not only a slow burn—at times, it’s downright slow. Keough is a fine enough actor but she doesn’t quite compel, and Armitage is also able but bland overall. McHugh and Martell must carry the load and fortunately, they’re up to the task and do a stellar job at keeping us guessing about what they’re up to in the scheme of this (possibly supernatural) cat-and-mouse game.
Cowritten by Sergio Casci and the directors, the script has some solidly scary ideas, but blunders when it comes to a mysterious dollhouse and some religious imagery that ultimately don’t pan out. One must suspend disbelief in several instances, especially when it comes to Richard giving unstable Grace gun-shooting lessons and then leaving her alone in the middle of nowhere with his hostile children.
While The Lodge is not perfect, it does have its moments and will be welcomed by fans of this particular chiller niche.
1 hour 48 minutes
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Staci Layne Wilson’s The Lodge review says it’s both chilling and chilly — a cold winter’s must-see for the horror movie crowd.