Today we’re talking about this new horror film from NEON called “The Lodge” starring Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage and Alicia Silverstone. This story centers a woman who gets snowed in at a secluded home in the wilderness with her fiance’s two kids. Things are a little tense early on between them but just as they start to warm up to each other a series of strange events begin to occur causing a strain on their mental stability. This movie actually came out last year with a premier at Sundance, and it made the rounds on the festival circuit throughout 2019. It has an upcoming release here in the U.S. so, let’s dive into what this movie delivers.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one going in. The trailers created interest. It appeared to have a blend of traditional horror elements as well as the visual touches of an art-house piece. And after watching, I think it found a nice middle ground that can appeal to a wide range of fans in the genre. Take films like “Hereditary” or “It Comes at Night” where the story foundation is created for the viewer then through a series of visually imaginative shots hints at things are woven in.
However there often isn’t a true path for the story. Thus, in the minds of many, including myself at times these are movies that show promise but, in the end, leave too much for the viewers interpretation for the sake of artistic ambiguity. These art-house, horror themed movies are hit-and-miss with me. I often feel large sections of them are incredibly entertaining yet it’s the small sections of storytelling that is missing, which ultimately makes the movie too often feel life a beautifully crafted film, based on an incomplete thought process.
“The Lodge” to me felt like an art-house movie that brought a thorough narrative along with it on the writing side. The story sets the stage quickly and grabs the viewers’ attention. From there it lays the groundwork for character dynamics you can easily connect with, and from there it proceeds to do its thing. Weaving itself through many dark layers of mystery and I had fun with it. It kept me engaged as the characters and their situation evolves. Like I said it’s a complete story, but it still provides the silent imagery that can create intrigue and thought without going overly philosophical or metaphorical.
The plot-line is relatively to the point and it knows its intention. It knows what message it wants to send, and the filmmakers use a nice seeding of information early on to build groundwork for the later twists and turns. The second-act does feel a bit slow, but I was still on edge. Wondering where the story turns were going and for that aspect it was a success. It was unsettling. It delivered the cinematography and camera work that create ominous visuals as well as an overall foreboding atmosphere. You know things aren’t going to end well for these characters, but how that will happen remains a mystery until late in the third-act and it was effectively unnerving as things unfolded with a nice gradually elevation of tension.
The locations were perfectly suited for the story setting which did a great job of capturing the isolation of the characters. Something that was amplified even more by a collection of great performances. The anxiety, fear, awkwardness, mental collapses, all of it was portrayed naturally from the cast. The emotional swings were authentic, and the chemistry between Keough, Martell, and McHugh was perfect for the needs of the story. I think they all brought their A-game and poured a ton of emotional intensity into their roles to great genuine characters you can invest in throughout this grim tale.
It progresses through a sinister story that manages to keep the suspension of disbelief low. It leaves just enough for the imagination while still delivering a fulfilled story-line. And with charged performances from the cast tossed in, along with some capable direction, cinematography, and sound-design, this movie provides much more than I was expecting, and I recommend it if the trailers have appealed to you.
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THE LODGE – VIDEO REVIEW