The Lodge

I’ve talked about big spooky houses before, and I’ll say it again: Only big spooky things happen in big spooky houses. Mansions, cabins in the woods, etc. I think it’s a fair shake to say that the more isolated you get, the more spooky the thing that happens. The Lodge fits this archetype to a T. There’s a lot to be said about how isolation exacerbates issues, and The Lodge starts saying them pretty much immediately.

The movie opens on a slightly dysfunctional religious family, and begins to explore their troubles. This doesn’t last too long as there isn’t really a ton of information to explore, but it sets the tone nicely. This movie is a bit less about horror, and way more about tension. It’s like seeing a glass teetering on the edge of a table. It could fall at any moment, but there’s no way to know when it’ll happen.

The Lodge sets up this dysfunctional family, and immediately sets about increasing tension by introducing a new character: The father’s girlfriend. There is a notable stress when the children interact with her, as they feel their father is replacing their mother. This is a common feeling in the children of divorces, but the children really seem to go out of their way to demonize the girlfriend.

This is only amplified when they learn she is the only surviving member of a suicide cult. 39 other members including her father perish. This is an event that has a noticeable impact for her psyche, and she takes medication in order to level out as an adult. It would be a terrible shame if something happened to that medication wouldn’t it?

The premise of the movie is a winter getaway to THE LODGE for the family (including the girlfriend) for some quality bonding time! Unfortunately the father has to work, and this means the girlfriend is responsible for the two children while the father is away. Even more unfortunately, strange events begin to plague the trio after a blizzard strikes and seals them off from the outside world.

The feeling as more and more things go wrong can only be described as dreadful. There is so much stressful build-up occurring as time progresses. Stress, responsibility, animosity, hatred, tension. As things begin taking a noted turn for the worse, the words of the cult leader echo “Repent your sins.” This is the start of the really heavy religious symbolism and messaging.

Tension continues building until it reaches a boiling point and then it boils harder. The odd happenings and stress start undermining each character’s actions as they blame each other for the strange circumstances. As this happens, the religious themes of repentance and purgatory keep building, and building, and building further. Background noise becomes noticeably drowned out by the chanting of “Repent your sins,” and and organ accompaniment that really shakes the bones.

The movie remains at this fever pitch for an extended period of time. It never oversteps the tension, and large plot reveals only serve to increase the troubling feeling. There’s no relief for so long that when the climax happens and the movie finishes, you can only sigh in relief. I noticed that I had my brow furrowed and shoulders tightened for so long it was starting to become painful.

This movie is a masterpiece of tension. It’s the most stressful movie I can recall seeing offhand, and it is now an immediate recommendation to anyone looking for a horror recommendation.

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