During a family retreat to a remote winter cabin over the holidays, the father (Richard Armitage) is forced to abruptly depart for work, leaving his two children in the care of his new girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough). Isolated and alone, a blizzard traps them inside the lodge as terrifying events summon specters from Grace’s dark past.
Plot: A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.
Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Runtime: 108 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Led by an impressive Riley Keough performance, The Lodge should prove a suitably unsettling destination for fans of darkly atmospheric horror.
“An atmospheric slow burn you’ll never forget.”
The movie starts of in a dark place as we cue to Laura Hall, a women and mother who is separated from her husband, Richard. You can see that she was suffering from depression, so much so she commits suicide after Richard informs her that he plans to marry Grace Marshall, a woman he met while researching a book about an extremist Christian cult. (Grace was the sole survivor of their mass suicide, led by her father.) As you can imagine, the death shakes up the entire family in many different forms.
We cut to six months in the future and Richard announces to the kids that they will spend Christmas with Grace at the family’s remote Massachusetts lodge to get to know each other. The children want to learn more about Grace’s past so the seek out evidence about her. They find video-footage of the cult she was apart showcasing the actual mass suicide with deceased followers draped in purple silk with duct tape across their mouths reading “sin.”
Once they all make it to the lodge, the children continually act hostile toward Grace and refuse to bond with her, even against their Dad’s wishes as he departs to the city for a last minute work obligation. As if the situation wasn’t tense enough, Grace’s uneasiness about the children grows to the point that she has nightmares about her father. The children weren’t the only factor in this happening, the Catholic iconography in the cabin sparked bad memories. (You can start to see things unraveling in her head.)
One morning, after what seemed to be a positive day with the kids, Grace wake’s up and discovers that her belongings – including her clothing, psychiatric medication and pet dog – are all missing. If that wasn’t bad enough, all the food and Christmas decorations have vanished too.
What happens next? You’ll have to check out the film to find out.
In conclusion —
When you’re a fan of the horror genre like me, you start to appreciate the many sub-genre’s that make horror movies awesome! In the past few years we’ve really dove into the psychological and atmospheric aspect of horror, which (for some reason I can’t explain) is my personal favorite. A24 and NEON are killing it right now with these films! I believe in order to, dare I say, enjoy movies like The Lodge you have to be in a certain mindset going in, you need to be open to all possibilities.
This film doesn’t care about the audience, it drags you along for the ride in a mind-bending slow burn (with a top notch performance by Riley Keough) that turns cabin-fever into something I’ve never experienced before — a little thought can go a long way. By the time the movie ends you’re in shock as the credits start to roll. This was the second time I experienced this movie — the tweet I sent out after I initially saw it in theaters closer to the beginning of the year was “The Lodge was absolute insanity. That ending will haunt me for weeks. I can’t believe how far we went from how the film began to the final conclusion.” I stick to that today — that ending is haunting.
I don’t ever assume my opinion is valid for anyone else, but reading some of the nasty reviews about this makes me question what else they like and dislike. If anyone reading this is a fan of A24 and NEON horror films and you didn’t like this, please let me know why in the comments. On the surface, this movie would be an odd recommendation for some, but for others it will hit the spot — dark and disturbing is not for everyone.
As a final note, this movie is as desolate as the location — there is never any hope.
Unfortunately, when it comes to special features included on the Blu-ray disc, there are none. This isn’t the kind of movie that needs a lot of extras, but I would’ve loved a short featurette with directors.
Taking everything I’ve said into account, The Lodge gets my recommendation for a day-one purchase, especially if you’re a fan of psychological & atmospheric horror. This movie is extremely unsettling and very disturbing as it draws to a close. It’s a slow burn, but it does pay off in a disturbing way you won’t see coming. Do yourself a favor, grab a copy at your local retailer on Blu-ray today. If you’re slightly interested, rent it!
Are you a fan of The Lodge? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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