'The Lodge' Review With Casey
Although the weather outside is sunny and breezy right now, it makes for an interesting time to watch a film full of snow, ice, and terror.
After enduring a family tragedy, a young brother and sister are "encouraged" to spend their Christmas holiday with their father and his new strange fiancée in their family's remote vacation lodge. But work calls the father away for a few days, forcing the children to spend time with this woman they hardly know while surrounded by miles of frozen New England forest. Strained family relationships are the impetus of this psychological horror full of secrets, nightmares, and major religious baggage.
This film was first released in the U.S. in February 2020 and is now available through Hulu and Netflix. The Lodge is a good example of patient storytelling with slow zoom shots, quiet dialogue, and a well-sustained unease that gracefully builds toward violence. The Lodge felt like one half The Shining (1980) and one half The Innocents (a lesser-known black and white horror film from 1961). This mystery and unease are maintained well because you're not sure what's a dream, what's reality, and what's a hallucination. You're kept in the harsh chilly dark just like the film's characters.
Austrian duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are the co-directors and co-writers of The Lodge who also worked together on the brilliant psychological horror film, Goodnight Mommy from 2014. These 2 films prove a horror film doesn't need lots of visual effects, sexual activity, or bloody violence to hold its viewer's attention. A good story, with carefully laconic conversations, can go a long way in the right direction. The Lodge isn't quite as terrific as Goodnight Mommy, but at least it's okay.
The opening shots of the film show the cozy, empty, silent, wooden interiors of a house which viewers will eventually discover are the interiors of a miniature dollhouse. This prologue creates the perfect metaphor of disorienting illusion, confinement, and isolation. Promising pieces to a stripped-down horror film.