As we approach the halfway point of 2020, I've been looking back at some of the awesome films I've checked out this year already and quite honestly, after finally seeing THE LODGE this past week, this film takes the cake for the first half of 2020 for me. What a fucking ride this film is; I knew I needed to see this movie when I first saw the trailer last year, and for whatever reason (limited theater showings I believe) I just never got the opportunity to check this bad boy out and man, have I been missing out. The Lodge is the modern day The Shining and it is fucking brilliant in every way possible. It's been days now since I've seen it and I still cannot stop thinking about the wicked storytelling that takes place in this movie, and the dark corners of the mind is explores. The Lodge is a twisted, psychological horror flick directed by filmmaking duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala that tells a mind-bending story that will have you questioning every scene as it plays out, as you try to decipher what is real and what is hallucination; and it works flawlessly. For the film, the team brought in Jaeden Martell (of IT) to play Aidan and Lia McHugh to play Mia - two children who spend some time in a lodge in the middle of nowhere with their soon-to-be stepmom, Grace (played by Riley Keough). What transpires once they get out to the lodge is utter madness, and I'm still recovering from how crazy of a trip this movie is. I can not definitely admit that I regret waiting so long to finally catch this movie, and I'm honestly already ready for a rewatch! I knew The Lodge was gonna be awesome... I didn't know it was going to be this fucking awesome. If you're in the mood for a little madness and a dark, emotionally draining film, The Lodge should be your number one choice so far this year.
In an attempt to keep this review as close to spoiler free as possible, I want to keep this plot synopsis as brief as possible, as it's vital to your viewing to go in as blind as possible. It's a few days until Christmas and the brother and sister Aidan and Mia are dropped off at the family cabin in a remote mountainside where it's seriously snowing. Their father Richard (Richard Armitage) has to go back to the city for work, so it's just the two kids and Richard's soon to be wife, Grace - who the two kids literally want nothing to do with. Things take an unusual and unhealthy turn when Grace's pills go missing, which help her deal with her insane childhood memories - and these same memories are what come to haunt her as her medication leaves her system and things at the lodge get very... grim. The hard line between reality and imagination is blurred and things get fucked.
If you like movies that give you a good ol' fashioned mindfucking, rollercoasters of insanity and madness, dark tones that will literally change your mood and twists and turns that will ruin your day, The Lodge is your must-see flick of 2020, so far at least. You will begin to question everything you're seeing on screen as Grace goes crazy, the kids go crazy, and the descent into pure fucking madness overtakes the property. There's so much to love about this movie, I could honestly go on for an hour talking about it if my friends let me. From the production quality and the location to the acting and mood it sets, The Lodge is an absolute masterpiece of a film. From the first five minutes of the movie, you will be engulfed in sadness, pain, mystery and intrigue as you try to figure out what the hell is going on, and it's the most enjoyable two hours of confusion you'll experience this year yet. You will experience the dark descent Grace experiences as she loses her grounding in reality, and it's frightening how dark things get, not only for her but for the kids. While Martell and McHugh slay their roles as the films children, it's Keough's performance as Grace that completely makes this movie the masterpiece it is, and everything from her facial expressions and language to her attitude and reactions are just what they need to be.
What makes this film more recommendable than a lot of the more artsy psychological films we see is this: you'll go through the fucking ringer with The Lodge. You'll experience the misery and confusion and sadness that Grace experiences as it unfolds, and all of the madness that goes along with it. But at the very end of the film, as the credits begin to roll, it will all make sense. There's no artsy, open-ended conclusion that will cause you to do hours of research to figure out what you just watched. Audiences can watch it and have it conclude on an excellent note without having to pick their brain and figure it all out. Sometimes with these types of movies, that's important; you'll be lost and mindfucked throughout the duration of the movie, but in the end, it all comes to a close in a nice, neat package that brings it all together - and it works amazingly for this movie. Audiences of all horror experience can watch it, understand it, and appreciate it - all while their brain melts out of their heads.
See this movie - do whatever it is you have to do to see this movie. Rent it, buy it, steal it, whatever - The Lodge has been a highlight of 2020 for me and I'm just moments away from hitting play again because I need it. It's been a long time since a movie has done this to me, thus I cannot recommend this movie enough. See it tonight.