Early 2020 presents us with a fairly varied selection of films in the horror genre. Starting from Gretel & Hansel which contains fantasy themes, The Grudge which is packed in mystery, to The Turning which carries a supernatural concept.
One that cannot be missed is The Lodge , a film that combines horror and psychological thriller as its genre. The Lodge is actually scheduled to air in November 2019. However, Neon as the film distributor company, postponed it until it was early 2020.
The Lodge launches for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25. The 108-minute film was finally widely released on February 7.
This film brings together the Austrian director duo, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala , in a horror film collaboration. Previously, they had collaborated in the direction of a German-language film, Goodnight Mommy (2014) , which was an Austrian production.
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Franz and Fiala also changed a number of essential points in the manuscript of The Lodge, whose original ideas were written by Scottish writer Sergio Casci .
With the concept of the story raised, The Lodge is relatively a sleek film in terms of the ranks of the actors involved in it. This film stars Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, and Richard Armitage .
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The brothers Aidan and Mia Hall were devastated after the unexpected death of the mother. Six months later, their father Richard plans to marry another woman named Grace. He hopes to bring his two children and Grace closer by compiling a vacation plan together.
The four then go on to spend their winter holidays in a private cottage nestled in the remote mountains. However, just as Richard had to return to town to finish some work, a number of strange things began to happen at the cottage. Surprisingly, these various horrors have something to do with dark events in Grace's past.
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The Lodge opens 2020 with the promising prospects that Franz and Fiala's collaborationon Goodnight Mommy has demonstrated. Similar to their previous film, The Lodge also tells a mystery story that is still intertwined with problems in the family, to be precise the relationship between parents and children.
The film is shrouded in a cold, lonely emptiness from the very beginning. Accompanied by the song “Nearer, My God, To Thee , ” the Hall brothers released black balloons into the sky during their mother's funeral procession. The death of the figure they held dearly was very sudden. Their grief had not subsided, six months later, their father begged them to start learning to accept their future stepmother.
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Aidan and Mia know something is wrong with that woman. Grace, played by Riley Keough, has a dark past. He is the only survivor of a mass suicide in a heretical Catholic sect led by his father.
Much of Grace's background is still a big question mark. But Grace then asks to spend time with the Hall kids during winter break in a (of course) secluded cottage.
With predictions of a storm that will lock them there, and the father who (of course) has to leave his two children with the mysterious woman, this story setting clearly shows its function as a plot device for a cabin fever themed horror story .
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Cabin fever has indeed become one of the themes that has a lot of potential to be used as a backbone for horror films. This theme has the power to present a psychic horror in the form of a claustrophobic sensation. Stanley Kubrick in his classic horror film, The Shining (1980) , has proven that feeling isolated from the outside world is a type of emotion that has something to do with fear.
The Lodge knows very well about this potential and makes optimal use of it. The minimalist setting and cast make the guessing game who is the real monster even more tense. Franz and Fiala also seem to have taken some inspiration from Ari Aster's cinematic stylein concocting horror-psychological films.
In practice, disturbing the psychic side of the audience is clearly not an easy job. However, the technical department of The Lodge has in fact succeeded in realizing the vision of Franz and Fiala brilliantly. They create a combination of visual and audio settings that are both artistic and immersive .
Cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis maximizes the claustrophobic sensation through long shots whenever he gets a chance to highlight the outdoor environment around the lodge. The pale tones hanging over the sky and the boundless vast fields of snow gave the impression of the cottage residents' helplessness to save themselves if something bad happened to them.
My favorite shot at The Lodge was Grace walking through a snowstorm for help. However, what she found was a wooden house where from behind the window, the face of her dead father looked back at Grace. Grace's figure with her back to the camera and the strange wooden house looks in contrast amidst the white snow.
On the other hand, The Lodge's background music design also adds a tense nuance to it. I feel quite horrified every time I hear the song "Nearer, My God, to Thee" sung in a strange way in some parts of the film. This is similar to the way The Nightingale (2018) makes the traditional Irish song “Siúil a Rún” sound much more sinister than the original.
After all, the greatest credit deserves to go to Riley Keough . This film is not the first time Keough has successfully portrayed a mysterious woman. In Welcome the Stranger (2018) , he plays the strange lover character of the main character's older brother. She is also an enigmatic girl in the film Under the Silver Lake (2018) .
Keough is adept at displaying faces without expression. He does not allow the audience to be able to find out the true motivation of the character he plays. This absence of emotion keeps the twist in The Lodge , which is the most genius part of the film, well preserved until the end of the film.
The Lodge is a psychological-horror film that tries to process the issue of family dynamics in a cabin fever themed mystery. This theme was optimally executed by the duo of director Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, who previously collaborated in the production of the horror film Goodnight Mommy .
The Lodge brings a gripping claustrophobic sensation through its seriesof immersive shots , which are then accentuated by the background music in the film. Keough manages to create a mysterious main character who keeps themain twist difficult for the audience to guess through his expressionless acting appearance.
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