With plenty of promise and just as many pitfalls, The Lodge is a great draft of a horror movie and a poorly finished one. Without proper polish, it’s a meandering, inconsistent story where the viewer tries to figure out who’s honest and what’s real while dealing with a lot of red herrings and loose ends that don’t fully add up.
Following the suicide of their mother, in part seemingly caused by depression brought about by her separated husband’s who’s already set on marrying a younger woman, a young brother and sister team are not excited about the holidays. But that doesn’t stop dad from bringing them together with his new flame, who happens to be the lone survivor of a religious cult mass suicide/ mass murder twenty years prior.
Grace (Riley Keough) is only referenced and seen in fleeting glances from behind in the early part of the movie. Even as the children enter a car with her in front, she takes her time to turn around and finally reveal herself. That the movie sets her up at least as someone unstable is the first of many choices that sit in your mind as psychological, perhaps even paranormal drama unfolds.
That’s because as the foursome heads up to the titular lodge on a lake in the middle of winter – a lodge of course that has no close neighbours, and a winter that brings a snowstorm – the father has to depart for work for a few days. So we’ve two children – the boy at the beginning of his teenage life, and a younger sister who holds dearly a doll that represents her deceased mother.
There are noises in the house, creeps in the night, and personal belongings that go missing. Grace’s tiny dog growls at something after dark, and perhaps Grace is wandering around or hallucinating. What’s clear is that the children are wary of her at best, and Grace has a past that is a struggle to deal with. Throw in that storm and Grace’s inability to locate her pills (someone, maybe her, or something, took them), and an unsettling and uneven couple of days.
Tension and a bit of terror unveils itself in this sort of whodunit; there are some immediate shocks, but the filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz don’t have a coherent tale to tell. They have an at times interesting one, but there are too many questions that pop up along the way that are left unanswered that serve more as distractions than intrigue. And once the answers come – suddenly and shockingly at the end – they create more questions.
The Lodge needs to tighten up a bit; it works one by one towards a finale, instead of knowing the beginning and end and putting pieces together in between. While the ending is memorable, it’s undercut by too much that comes before. A few stunning images and a little twist aren’t enough to make the film a satisfying stay.
- Rated: R
- Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
- Release Date: 2/21/2020
- Directed by: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
- Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Jaeden Martell., Richard Armitage, Riley Keough
- Produced by: Aaron Ryder, Aliza James, Simon Oakes
- Written by: Sergio Casci, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
- Studio: FilmNation Entertainment, Hammer Films