The new psychological horror by directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, The Lodge follows Aidan (Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh), two children who have been raised in the Christian faith. When their mom commits suicide, they are forced to stay with their dad, Richard (Richard Armitage) and his fiancé, Grace (Riley Keough), a young woman with severe psychological issues that require heavy medication that result from her dark past involving a Christian cult. During the cold Christmas break, Aidan, Mia, and Grace are forced by Richard to stay together at their family’s lodge for some quality family bonding. Secluded and isolated from the rest of civilization, strange things start to happen as the power goes out and supplies go missing. As a result, everyone in the lodge slowly begins to losing their minds waiting for Richards return so they can head back to town.
With that premise, one would initially think that The Lodge is a classic horror movie that’s set in a “bottle”, mimicking more recent horror movies like The Visit. As the film begins, the movie focuses on Aidan and Mia’s perspective but, once they’re at the lodge, it shifts to Grace’s point of view. As the mysteries begin to unravel, the film has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing along the way. Are the kids somehow doing these things? Is Grace being influenced by her past cult? Or is Aidan and Mia’s dead mother haunting them?
The Lodge also carries an underlying theme of repentance. As a survivor of a Christian cult led by her father, Grace witnessed dozens of people who committed suicide or killed because they were labelled as sinners. Although she survived in order to spread the word of her father’s teachings, Grace has tried to move past her horrible past. However, after discovering her horrible past, the kids despise her, unable to accept her. Because of her past, the kids try to punish Grace by cutting the power, taking her medication and food, and trying to trick her into believing they’re all in purgatory and must repent for their sins. (It’s actually ironic that, by viewing Grace as the sinner that must repent, they become the sinners.)
To its credit, The Lodge is unpredictable in its storytelling, keeping the audience surprised along the way. Through its set design, it’s able to successfully create a claustrophobic purgatory in the cabin itself. While the family remains stuck in the cabin with no supplies, power, internet, or connection to anyone of the outside world, they soon find that trying to leave is impossible as they’re surrounded by think layers of snow on thin ice. By their use of bleak lighting and menacing shadows, Fiala and Franz leaves their family slowly drifting to an icy hell with no escape. For that reason, The Lodge was a horror movie that was great at keeping you surprised as the story unravels into an interesting take on a classic horror movie theme.
The Lodge scares moviegoers in theatres beginning Friday, February 21, 2020