A soon-to-be-stepmom is snowed in with her fiance's two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations finally begin to thaw between the trio, strange and frightening events threaten to summon psychological demons from her strict religious childhood.Written by
The painting of Mary seen in the opening scene and throughout the movie is a reproduction of L'Annunciata (Virgin Annunciate) by Italian Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina (1430-1479). See more »
Multiple scenes with snow either shows that the temperature was higher during filming, as the snowflakes are large, or that this was shot near spring and not around Christmas, as the snow is clearly old and melting. See more »
It won't be for everyone, but The Lodge is an effective exercise in slow descending isolation and insanity
The Lodge has been a rather divisive point between critics and audiences, audiences have been more split on the film while critics have been more inclined to view the film favorably. This is not a movie made for a mass horror audience like the films made by Blumhouse or Atomic Monster, rather this is a character study with a no holds barred approach to its themes of lingering trauma and toxic religiosity. The film follows Aiden(Jaeden Martell) and Mia(Lia McHugh) who after the suicide of their mother Laura(Alicia Silverstone) live with their father Richard(Richard Armitage) and soon to be stepmother Grace (Riley Keough). Richard, needing to work through the holiday season arranges for the two to spend time with Grace at lodge in the woods that they frequent in the hopes that they will bond, but once there strange happenings coupled with the lingering resentment and bitterness felt by Aiden and Mia towards Grace for their mother's suicide a slow decent into terror begins.
The Lodge as horror film is very effective at building its mood and atmosphere. The titular lodge becomes a character itself with its empty halls, surrounding frozen landscapes, and generally sense of foreboding created by its minimal lighting and cavernous nature. Be it in the dark of the night or the light of day there is never any sense of comfort felt while in the lodge and a general feeling of unease permeates the film.
The characters aren't written with much in the way of depth, but they do effectively convey the feelings we expect given the circumstances. The crushing despair felt during the opening act's funeral, the mixture of boredom, restlessness, and unease felt during the second act, and finally the sheer terror and resignation that serves as the penultimate lead up to the films final moments. It's a movie where the minimalism is put to good use because it respects its audience enough not to through in a jump scare every few minutes.
The overall narrative deals with heavy themes of grief and religion as the two kids, Aiden and Mia, are devout Catholics as raised by their deceased mother Laura. Grace herself has distanced herself from religion later in life as her involvement with a extremist Christian cult left her with lingering trauma that serves as another point of contention between herself and the children. A key point in which the religious themes come into play is because the children are Catholic they believe their mothers soul will never be able to find peace.
The Lodge uses its themes of religiosity sparingly, and it's not so much of an indictment of religion itself, but more of the followers of said religions who twist what was once a well meaning doctrine into justification for acts of ugliness and barbarism that while not as explicitly graphic as your average Saw or Hostel film leave a haunting emptiness once we bear witness to the proceedings.
With that said however this movie will not be to everyone's taste. The movie is a slow burn with long stretches broken up by the occasional nightmare or sudden noise and there's very little dialogue among the characters so the audience will need to actively look for character in subtle interactions rather than through conversation. The films use of religious iconography may also seem insulting to some who feel themselves to be among the faithful but with that said I don't believe this film to carry any ill will towards the majority of Christians and it's more about those who twist the doctrine as justification for heinous actions. However the ending may leave some wondering where the film stands given where we eventually end up, but it does make a good topic of conversation for people to explore their differing views.
The Lodge is an effectively unsettling slow burn horror film that uses its minimalist aesthetics economically and effectively. From its effective performances to its barren landscapes and claustrophobic cinematography it'll leave viewers in a state of unease that makes them feel as though they're stuck in the titular lodge along side the characters.
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