I was very excited to see this film when I saw the previews for it. It seemed like just the type of film that I typically love. I missed it when it opened in limited release in February and just got around to seeing it this past week. Well, The Lodge is one of those films that makes you think afterwards because there really is a whole lot that transpires and there’s lot to break down. This film is very strong in certain ways, but unfortunately also features some plot devices that I just don’t think work all that well.
I have to praise this cast because everyone does a pretty stellar job, especially the children… very impressive. Riley Keough plays the soon to be stepmother in the equation that is struggling to connect with the kids on this Christmas getaway and she really gives her all to this role. She does so much with her facial expressions and is able to show us what her character is going through and experiencing with ease. Her performance is even more impressive when you consider what all she must relay; her character has been through a lot.
Richard Armitage and Alicia Silverstone play supporting roles here as the kids’ parents and while I liked them both, Silverstone stood out the most between the two. I haven’t always liked Silverstone in the past, but here she does a great job at playing this mentally unstable soon to be divorced woman who’s in desperate need of help. I think one of the reasons Armitage was the least impactful is because is character seems utterly clueless in The Lodge and makes some choices that are pretty misguided.
Ok, now for the kids: Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh. I’ve seen Martell in the It films and loved his work and he does a great job here as well. McHugh is extremely impressive as the daughter. I very impressed by her work in several scenes in particular. I look forward to seeing more from her.
There are ideas that are explored here and done so in an interesting way. Childhood trauma and its ability to stick with an individual for years after is a central plot point and there are ways that that plays out that add to the terror. I like that the writers included this because it’s not something you see all the time in films of this nature and I think it’s a clever plot point.
Keough’s character is the main one that’s still dealing with her trauma but the kids are also going through their own version of childhood trauma. It is interesting to watch the kids go through what they’re going through alongside their soon to be stepmother who’s still reeling from her own trauma. They “deal with it’ in very different ways though as you see in the film.
While I love this concept that’s set up by the writers and there are some ways in which it works here, there are details about it that simply don’t seem feasible. Without giving too much away, let’s just say there are things the kids do in this film that seem way out of character and while I understand they’re damaged in a way, some things the film has them do just seem over the line of believability. If they would’ve just dialed back some of the stuff the script calls for them to do this whole thing would’ve gone smoother and come off as more realistic. There’s really three different angles here at work and I find each of them very interesting and terrifying in their own way. Warped religion, the effect extreme trauma has on a person, and unintended consequences for actions.
The plot sets these things up nicely and is effective sometimes in executing them. Some of the ways they deliver on these things are so great that it’s all the more frustrating when they drop the ball. The ending is absolutely horrifying and works very well but the middle of the film gets lost and veers into unbelievable territory which is again, frustrating, considering all the other fantastic elements this film offers up. The best element that is presented here is the idea of there being no innocent parties amongst all these characters, or even more frightening, the idea that once you consider everything that transpires, the real villain isn’t who you’d think.
The Lodge is a mostly well done psychological horror film. There are great performances, some very interesting plot elements, and a clever ending. Unfortunately the film does veer into unbelievable territory towards the middle and some of that undermines the overall effect the film has. All things considered, I do recommend The Lodge because it is terrifying and has some very well done elements.
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