Oh baby, it’s been a long time since a film came out that I love and everyone I recommend it to will probably hate it. That is The Lodge, a horror film that made its way from the Sundance to be theatrically released by Neon. In January and February you take what you get especially with horror genre so this year at least has been a welcome surprise. The Lodge makes the most out of seemingly small budget, trimming down the characters and locations for focused storytelling.
Taking the time to introduce us, the viewers, to the people and relationships is a wise decision for the movie as you get the turmoil going on after something serious happens in the beginning. After that we meet Grace (Riley Keough) and follow her as the group gathers to the lodge and you get to learn things about her instantly. This all makes caring for them in this disturbing atmosphere easier. Keough is fantastic with Grace’s distress and problems with her new ”stepkids” Aidan (Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh). Martell and McHugh are extremely believable as siblings and both provide mature performances.
Directors/co-writers Severin Fiala’s and Veronika Franz’ work with their directorial choices are well-fitted for a film this size. Swirling shots on the staircase and wide shots from almost roof level bring a lot of feel. There are also shots in the first half that get mirrored in the second half, being then shot from different point of view. Sound and the underlying ”score” are used effectively. Score is in quotation marks as it’s not fully one in traditional sense but it’s used more-so to enhance the sound design. Wind blowing, floorboard noises and ambient reverbs back up the atmosphere. The Lodge doesn’t completely deliver its potential as the pay-off lacks a bit of oomph and it could’ve been the place to reference Grace’s cult experience rather than strictly her mental state. The ending isn’t a movie-ruiner though.
Smileys: Atmosphere, directing, whole cast’s performances, sound mixing
Frowneys: Ending isn’t good enough, not bad though
Nice yearly fix of weird cult-ish stuff happening in a wooden house, starring a mom figure.