‘The Lodge’ Is A Ominous Expose of Confined Horror and Accumulated Emotional Trauma

Being within a confined space can be a terrifying experience for some. The best examples of this in previous horror movies are 1980’s The Shining (oddly enough, in an enclosed, snowy setting) and 2005’s The Descent. Characters come face to face with their demons; whether it be a physical or mental personification of that. Sometimes, isolation brings out the worst of us. The experiences that hurt us previously turn us into the “monster.” The Lodge continues the recent trend in horror on how ugly repressed emotional trauma can be when you don’t deal with it.

The movie begins with Richard (Richard Armitage) and Laura (Alicia Silverstone) as they are on the death throes of their marriage. Richard informs Laura that he wants to finalize their divorce and marry Grace (Riley Keough). This news is met with Laura committing suicide and the movie continues it’s grim tone from that point forward.

Richard’s main concern throughout the movie is for old and new parts of his life to live in harmony somehow. He’s almost blinded by it. Even if this is completely disregarding Grace’s previous history and the fact that his children, Aidan (Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh) lost their mother through abrupt and traumatic means. This contrast of one character trying to completely discard the past is going to collide with people who can’t.

In their previous movie, 2014’s Goodnight Mommy, Directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala created a movie with two brothers who question their mother’s identity after plastic surgery. The Lodge has the same three-character structure for most of the film. The maternal matter that they are speaking to in this film is one of replacement. Can a family unit be accepting of another added ingredient – seemingly unwanted? What are the lengths that people will go to be protective of the previous lives they knew?

This movie doesn’t offer much in terms of jump scares – and honestly, it doesn’t need to. It is choked full of disturbing imagery and storyline twists that will have your brain in knots. A cabin snowed in amongst the neverending amount of woods enables a certain type of psychosis to happen.

During the 2nd and 3rd acts of the film, there are a lot of viewpoints that are finagled to keep you guessing. This is even to the point of twisting the setting through reoccurring glimpses of a dollhouse. You constantly have to guess the reality that you’re seeing. As The Lodge goes on, the movie’s color bends to the dark nature of this descent into madness. At times, there can be too much sleight of hand at play where it muddies up the main point. However, there’s enough here that will carry an informative discussion long after you leave the theater.

Thimios Bakatakis is able to use his style of cinematography to show you both the vastness of the woods, but to also be claustrophobic. While in the cabin, shots are tight in the right moments to show characters breaking down. Darkness is used and vivid imagery comes into play to make you constantly question the point-of-view you are watching from.

With a cast this size, performances have to deliver. Riley Keough’s portrayal of Grace is haunting. She goes down the rabbit hole of someone coming apart in a place where she’s not wanted. Grace’s character has her own set of issues. She’s the lone survivor of a Catholic cult ran by her father where all the members participated in a mass suicide. Her face is obstructed until she looks at the kids for the first time.

There’s a sense of empathy built-in for Grace because, with her background, she’s missing certain qualities that a proper childhood would bring. Not only is she in a stepmother role, but there’s an adolescent mind frame of her wanting to be accepted. Not only does that speak to the trauma that Grace has experienced, but also Aidan and Mia as well. Aidan essentially has to be a father figure to Mia because his own father left him with a stranger. With the combustible elements all stuck together, this is rife for a horror setting.

Like with previous eras of horror, the emotional trauma aspect is the latest to be explored. Look to movies like Hereditary and Midsommar – some of the most macabre moments are the ones of complete emotional nakedness. Ones that we feel that we shouldn’t be in the room for. The Lodge, written by the team of Franz, Fiala, and Sergio Casci combines a classic, atmospheric horror feel with an emotional story that will make you question who you go on a getaway with.

Photo Credit: Neon Pictures

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Journalist, Self-published author of five books, podcast host, and photographer since 2014, Murjani Rawls has been stretching the capabilities of his creativity and passions, Rawls has as a portfolio spanning through many mediums including music, television, movies, and more. Operating out of the New York area, Rawls has photographed over 200+ artists spanning many genres, written over 700 articles ranging displaying his passionate aspirations to keep evolving as his years in media continue.

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