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The Lodge Review (Sundance)

A father takes his two kids and new fiance to a holiday village for the winter, but things seem to take a turn when their stepmom-to-be cannot seem to let go of her past.

For the record, I walked into this viewing not knowing this was a horror film. By the first two minutes, I was still convinced that I was in a warm drama. Five minutes in, the world took a sharp LEFT. Just when I thought the horror genre was cancelled, we are hit with this. The Lodge is a fresh new take on psychological horror, mystery and thriller. It is extremely chilling without overusing gore and frightening images. Better yet, they are very few jump scares, but the film still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. There is no haunted house, there is no exorcism, there is no creepy dolls, and they are definitely no clowns. Just unfortunate events and a whole lot of terror. Even with no jump scares, you are destined to jump out your seat because this film has no rules. Anything can happen at any time, and I can ensure you that the first couple of minutes does not disappoint.

Directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala demands your attention by telling a story that deals with the obsession of religion. Using live footage from an event extremely similar to the religious cult leader who convinced his people to confess their sins by killing themselves, we are set on a traumatic journey of social isolation and the supernatural. While the film could have use a cut of 10-15 minutes, the pacing was fair, allowing the viewer to be dreary as the people in the house. However, the film feels claustrophobic as many were holding their breaths for long periods without knowing because of its sinister atmosphere.

Frankly, you guessed it; this is not for the faint heart. Neither the gullible, nor the easily triggered. Once the film gets going, it does not stop leading us all the way to the end where we are left highly blank and empty. The premise is pretty complicated by having a script with multiple explanations and we never get to know the correct one, leaving the end to perception. What does not help is the recurrent view of an elaborate dollhouse (trust me no dolls) that mimics the events happening in reality. Therefore, we have to think in this movie, which is refreshing because most horror films do not give us that option.

The performances are fine, nothing to praise here. They are only about five to six people in this movie and they are all solid, but it does not compare to recent notable performances such as Hereditary and Halloween.

After this film, no one stayed for Q&A.

I’m sure that answers your questions.

NEON has acquired distribution rights to the film.


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