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The Lodge | 2020 Contemporary Horror | Non-Spoiler Review

It's been a while since I've seen a well-done horror film.

Yes, it's a horror film but not in your typical sense of the genre. I like to categorize this film as a “contemporary” gothic horror. These are horror films that don't rely on jump scares, monsters, or your typical associated cliches but are intriguingly dark, filled with atmosphere and intensity. It's more of a psychological drama with horror elements.

The Lodge is in the same family as Ari Asters 'Hereditary' and Robert Eggers 'The Witch' but more of the niece or nephew.

The Lodge is a psychological thriller, from 2014's Good Night Mommy directors Severin Fiala, and Veronika Franz. Over a holiday family retreat, new girlfriend Grace played by Riley Keough, is forced to take care of two children. When an isolating blizzard strikes the cottage, their bonding time quickly turns sinister when dark events are summoned from Grace's past.

There's a heavy religious presence throughout the film with a direct discussion on mental illness.

It's tense.

It's the kind of film that forces you to be invested in the little details. Just when you think you're ahead of the film, it quickly puts you back into place.

The film begins with a very jarring and abrupt incident that immediately puts you in a state of unease. A slap to your cheek telling you to wake up and pay attention. It sets your mind in a state of being on edge to only veer you off to an isolated, slow-paced, icy environment. It triggers you to be prepared for the rest of the film.

I was truly terrified the majority of the film, just due to the unknown. The atmosphere is quite chilling.

There are some well-executed scares and shocking moments. I'm not talking jump scares, but that icy, blood draining, a quick tsunami wave of 'oh-no, what am I in for' the type of shock.

This is all executed through ambient lighting, score, and uneasy camera angles. All the elements work together to create an indescribably eerie environment reflective of the themes and nature of the scenes.

There's a lot of foreshadowing and symbolism, in not so obvious ways. It's a film that requires another watch to pick up on the subtleties and clues given in advanced. The film is flooded with the symbolism of sins and purgatory, my absolute favourite subgenre of horror.

Less is more.

The Lodge owes it's success to the element of the unknown. The less that is shown the more terrifying everything becomes. The film tricks your mind into building anticipation of some horrifying event but the film never satisfies this need until you absolutely least expect it. The payoff The Lodge eventually provides is worth the two hours run time.

A delivery of true horror, which is the unexpected.

It's a film that likes to mess with your head, from the ambiguous events, anticipated horror and misdirections, this all slowly but gradually builds until the climactic ending when the madness takes over with lack of control.

There are lots of unanswered plot points, by the third act which I'm still not sure if it hinders the overall elevation of the film. Trust me, I love a good open-ended film however, I felt like I didn't have enough understanding to make my own interpretation. This deserves a second watch for sure before I move this film from alike to love.

Overall, The Lodge was a reminiscent experience of my first viewing of Ari Asters 'Hereditary' with an elevated heartbeat. Although I wish I saw this on the big screen, the chilling atmosphere seeped through my desktop screen and at times I was thankful for the pause button to collect myself.

It's a challenging film, that requires engagement, a prime example of excellent thought-provoking horror.

It's different, and worth the watch.




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