The Lodge

The Lodge ★★★½

The Lodge feels like a movie born in the wrong era -- had it been filmed in the 50s/60s, the story would've had huge potential to be made into a The Innocents/Rosemary's Baby type of monolith, of course, at the helm of masterminds like Roman Polanski or even Bergman.

The story is far from perfection, with some contrivances guilty of horror cinema tropes, but it has all the rudimental sparkles of a horror classic -- seclusively eerie setting, namely a snow-bound cabin in which two grudging stepchildren are forced to coup up with their ex-cult-member stepmother; protagonists haunted by traumatized pasts; and twists and turns that you don't see coming. Directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, who have offered us masterpiece Goodnight Mommy, injected their stylish inputs into this already hair-raising story. The ominous and ambient sound effects coupled with a depressingly monotone landscape of snow-covered mountains brings out the uneasiness of the cabin fever situation. Fiala and Franz are obviously keen to the details, as shown in both Goodnight Mommy and this, with much attentions paid to the emotional journey of each character before we reach the final showdown, so the audience are able to form an emotional connection. Fiala and Franz know better than to resort to the jump-scare tropes adopted by almost every mainstream horror movies nowadays, instead they opted to let the dread slowly yet steadily build on its own. The cast members -- two children and one adult -- were unbelievably believable in their roles, with all the awkwardness and hostility perfectly captured. The stepmother, played by Riley Keough, is the standout for me, whose by turns insidious and vulnerable performance is bound to be one of the most memorable of the year.

Overall The Lodge is a surprise gem among the increasingly predictable and monotone horror cinema, and a decent successor to Goodnight Mommy. Highly recommended.

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