The Lodge was one of the movies that I was super excited to watch and it just… somehow passed me by. No local theaters were showing it back in early 2019 and by the time I got the motivation to travel to see it, it had disappeared from all theaters. So this one has been on my to-watch list for a while, and I figured a month dedicated to horror movies would be the perfect time! Which makes it such a shame that I really didn’t like it.
After Ms. Alicia Silverstone shoots herself in the head, her ex-husband Richard (Richard Armitage, AKA Thorin from The Hobbit trilogy) is planning on marrying Grace (Riley Keough, AKA Capable from Mad Max: Fury Road). Too bad his kids–Aiden (Jaeden Martell from 2017’s It) and Mia (Lia McHugh, who will be in Eternals)–hate Grace, blaming her for their mom’s death. Seriously? Richard plays Richard, Jaeden play Aiden, and Lia plays Mia? Whatever. The kids find out that Grace is the only survivor of a doomsday cult which may explain some of her odd behaviors. Also all the meds she needs to take. The bulk of the movie happens in a remote house Richard owns, where he leaves his kids and Grace alone while he goes to work miles away. Things are tense, but there’s a dramatic increase in tensions when they all fall asleep next to a gas heater. Strange stuff keeps happening–including all their possessions disappearing–leading them to suspect that they’re all actually dead and stuck in some sort of purgatory. The movie really drives that point home, so it’s clearly not true. Sure enough, this is an incredibly elaborate ruse the kids are pulling on Grace.
How elaborate? To an unbelievable degree. They have preprinted newspaper articles talking about how the three of them all died from carbon monoxide poisoning. They hide everything in the house and kill the generator, leaving everyone starving and freezing. Aiden even fakes a hanging! I mean, he absolutely hanged himself, but apparently did the necessary preparations to survive the experience. Can you google that without ending up on a watchlist? The kids only think they’ve gone too far when they learn that they killed Grace’s dog. I’m sorry, you let the dog out in a blizzard and just… assumed he’d be fine? It’s all one big distracting contradiction: they’re childlike enough that they’re doing this because they believe Grace’s existence led to their mom’s death and forget things like “animals can die in freezing weather,” but smart enough to enact a gaslighting campaign that could probably even work on someone without PTSD and a bunch of medications.
But no, Grace’s background and lack of meds leads to her going completely insane. Believing this is purgatory, she shoots Richard in the head. The film ends with her gathering the kids, singing a hymn together, and then preparing to kill them in a way reminiscent of the way her fellow cult members died. At least the kids suffered for their horrible, HORRIBLE actions.
I wasn’t a fan of this. I thought the twist was incredibly obvious and handled poorly. I felt like this was trying really hard to be Hereditary–especially with the multiple shots of Mia’s dollhouses–just without the overt supernatural elements. But it is better than The Turning because the kids get punished for actively driving someone insane. Sure, death might be a little bit extreme, but fuck those kids. I was mad for the last third of the movie and was rooting for their deaths. Better they die now instead of growing up to becoming serial killers since they’re clearly sociopaths.
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