(US/UK - 2020)
Directed by Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala. Written by Sergio Casci, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. Cast: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Lia McHugh, Daniel Keough. (R, 108 mins)
If you're a fan of the so-called "elevated horror" trend and like it uncompromisingly grim and relentlessly downbeat, then be sure to check out THE LODGE, a film so dark and depressing that it makes HEREDITARY and MIDSOMMAR look like the feel-good crowd-pleasers of their years. The English-language debut of Austrian writers/directors and aunt/nephew filmmaking team Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, THE LODGE shares some superficial similarities with their acclaimed--and wildly overrated--2015 film GOODNIGHT MOMMY, namely that it traps a woman and two children in an isolated house of psychological horrors. While THE LODGE is a superior--and meaner--film in every way, Franz and Fiala still can't help tripping over their own feet in the way overly contrived and illogical things have to happen in order to advance the plot. There almost always has to be a suspension of disbelief to a certain degree, and for a while, you aren't sure what kind of horror you're dealing with in THE LODGE. That's when it works best, when it hasn't shown all of its cards. And even after that, it's still got its hooks in you, but the hoops it has to jump through to accomplish that do diminish it somewhat. Without spoiling anything (and if you've seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about), some immediate questions I had were "Why even show her the gun?" and "Does that even look like a real newspaper?"