The Lodge (2019) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Lodge (2019) Review

Horrorific content by Jessica Gomez on February 27th, 2020 | Movie Review | Madness, Desolate, Dysfunctional Family

It's about two siblings spending the night alone with their new stepmother. Stuck in a remote mountain cabin, the trio are terrorized by a seemingly supernatural force.

The Lodge was directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (who also directed Goodnight Mommy) and stars Riley Keough (from The House That Jack Built), Lia McHugh (from Totem), Jaeden Martell and Richard Armitage.

You're not welcome here.

What happens to a family when the critically influential matriarch suddenly leaves it to its own devices? Bundle up, because The Lodge is sure to show you just how horrifying isolation in the dead of winter can get. Proving itself to be a stunning exploration of the human psyche, it begs the question: how faithful is our empathy, when our moral compass has gone?

After their beloved mother’s death, Aidan and Mia struggle to maintain normalcy. Just six months after she passes away, they are stuck in their family’s remote lodge with their soon-to-be stepmother, Grace, where their father has left them while he works in the city. In a film heavily influenced by Hereditary, from the tight cinematic shots to the dollhouse to the examination of grief, what looks like it could have been part of an anthology for an Ari Aster masterpiece turned out to be a narrative that was shocking in its own distinguishing way.

There are a number of clues that make it clear that the kids’ father is not only selfish, but lacks basic empathy. This is the first Christmas without their mother, but he brings them to the lodge with a new woman - one they barely know, who looks like their mom’s younger doppelganger. He pushes for the holiday, though they make it clear they aren’t comfortable with her. Instead of putting the relationship with Grace on hold to be a present father, he informs them, without asking their opinion, that he plans to marry her. It’s implied from the timeline (and from the kids blaming her for her mother’s death) that he was having an affair with her while he was still married to their mom. A conversation about depression may have helped them process. And, oh yeah, Grace used to be in a cult, and was the only surviving member - but he sees no problem with leaving her with his kids in the middle of nowhere. It’s clear that Richard’s main priority has, and will always be, himself - to his kids’ detriment.

Grace seems even-tempered and forgiving as she attempts to make a connection with her fiance’s kids, but is put easily off-kilter. We soon learn she’s on medication, presumably to deal with post-traumatic stress and possibly psychosis, from her experience in the cult. When her pills, amongst other things, go missing in the lodge, she has a hard time deciphering whether she’s the one responsible for the strange occurrences around the cabin, or if someone is gaslighting her.

What appears on the surface to have religious influence proves to be much more than that. Grace has difficulty with religious imagery not just because it reminds her of her zealot father, but because it implores her to look inside her own guilt as the sole survivor, and for her place now, in a family that has been upended. Did Richard think to take the many religious art pieces, which belonged to his dead wife, down from the wall? It didn’t even cross his mind.

The house setting smartly played an integral role. From the outside, the lodge looks like a mansion, but on the inside, it feels claustrophobic. Tight hallways, small rooms, dim lights and dark accents make the inside feel extremely cramped. There is no comfort to be felt in this family home.

The first act is startling, even if you can anticipate what’s going to happen, setting the stage for what’s to come. It’s in tense moments such as these, which come more often than we expect, where we think Franz and Fiala may pull back - but they’re unyielding. They force us to the edge of our seat, and then give us a subtle wave before pushing us all the way off.

Worth Watching?

The acting from everyone was solid, and the level of intensity slowly increases as you watch, as if the viewer is the one with cabin fever. The film is dark, both literally and metaphorically speaking; it’s a movie that feels like winter. 

If you liked Hereditary, you’ll like The Lodge. The artsy display of a dysfunctional family dynamic was as heartbreaking as it was anxiety-inducing. Those who are grieving in some way are vulnerable, to be both preyed upon, and to become the predator themselves. We’ll be talking about this one for a while.

The Lodge Review (2019) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it


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