In the long tradition of “snowed in” horror films (The Shining, The Thing, Misery, etc.), there’s always a compelling sense of isolation that adds to the suspense. And while The Lodge is nowhere near as iconic as the aforementioned films, it’s a quiet little thriller that’s worthy of recognition.
(Minor Spoilers About the First 5 Minutes of the Movie)
Off to a Traumatic Start
The film begins with Laura (Alicia Silverstone) dropping off her children Aiden and Mia with their father Richard (Richard Armitage). He tells her that he wants to finalize their divorce so that he can marry his current girlfriend Grace (Riley Keough).
Wrestling with this distressing news, Laura tragically takes her own life, leaving her family in broken shambles. Aiden and Mia blame their father (as well as Grace) for bringing about their mother’s suicide.
Months later, the family travels up to a lodge where they used to spend Christmas together (with their mother), only this time Grace is going instead. When Richard has to drive back down for work, she’s left alone with two stepchildren who despise her, but that’s the least of her worries.
Between a traumatic past involving a death cult and a series of unsettling occurrences as they get snowed in, Grace is tormented by her environment. As things begin to happen she (as well as the audience) isn’t quite sure if unexplainable things are happening, or if she’s slowly being driven insane.
Disturbing Rather Than Scary
There’s an important distinction to make when it comes to horror films. Some seek to scare us, in that they want us to be afraid of something happening or coming for us.
And others disturb, in that they force us to confront very unpleasant ideas, and leave us thinking about them long after we’re done watching the film. The Lodge excels at the latter.
We feel the sense of isolation as a blizzard keeps our three fateful characters trapped, and we too have no idea what’s really going on. By the end, you won’t exactly be scared, rather your jaw will drop out of shock and cringe.
Trying Too Hard?
As previously mentioned, part of Grace’s backstory involves being raised in a cult. The baggage from this past still affects her views on religion, as well as her overall sense of worth and safety.
When the strange occurrences begin, he’s haunted by the voice of her long deceased father, spouting his fanatical ways that she tried so desperately to escape. And while this would have been enough to motivate her fears, there’s also that fact that the children’s mother committed suicide, which also haunts her.
The film jumps back and forth between both things slowly wearing her down, and sometimes it just seems like it’s a bit too much. The film probably would have worked with either of these plot points serving as Grace’s emotional baggage. Having both seems unnecessary at best, and excessive at most.
Despite this, The Lodge is still an incredibly tense thriller, while still being quite and (mostly) subtle. In time, it will be another go to film to watch whenever it’s snowing outside!