A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Lodge is a horror/thriller movie about sinister things happening to two kids and their soon-to-be-stepmother while they're stuck in a remote, snowbound lodge. Violence includes guns and shooting, characters dying/dead bodies shown (including a frozen dog), blood spatters/trails, children in peril, and other unsettling, spooky imagery. A woman's bare breasts are seen after she gets out of the shower, and her naked body is somewhat visible through the shower's opaque door. Two people kiss and giggle together in bed. Language includes a few uses of "f--k" (or "f---ing"), and a character seems to depend on prescription pills. Characters drink wine in several scenes; one drinks just before dying via suicide. Another scene suggests that a character may be nursing a hangover. The movie's setup isn't very smart, but the story is well told, and the film is moody and icily paced; it should appeal to sophisticated horror hounds.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE LODGE, journalist Richard (Richard Armitage) announces to his estranged wife, Laura (Alicia Silverstone), that he'd like to finalize their divorce because he wants to marry his new girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough). Shocked, Laura kills herself, leaving Richard with their two children -- older son Aidan (Jaeden Martell) and younger daughter Mia (Lia McHugh). Richard decides to let the kids get to know their future stepmom by setting them up in a remote winter lodge over a few days before Christmas, while Richard finishes up work in the city. There the kids discover Grace's strange and sinister past. And then all three wake up to find the Christmas decorations gone, the generator broken, and their food and clothing missing. Worse, Grace's medication has vanished. Can they survive this ordeal, or will the darkness overtake them?
Is it any good?
Its silly setup aside, this ice-cold chiller has a confident command of every frame, using its creeping-dread rhythm and unsettling sound design to unfold a wry, brutal story in the cleverest way. Coming from Austrian filmmaking team Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, whose Goodnight Mommy (2014) had a similar horror dynamic (two unreliable kids in a house with an unsound adult), The Lodge is a very promising English-language debut. Though it's difficult to forgive Richard for thinking it's a good idea to send his kids and his girlfriend to a remote, frozen lodge where anything could go wrong, it's easy to forgive the filmmakers because of where they go from there.
Fiala and Franz cook up a scenario that could, truthfully, go any which way, and they effectively balance their slow suspense with startling shocks. Even after a major clue drops, they keep their juggling act going until the horrifying final shot. Running through The Lodge is an undercurrent of commentary on religious hypocrisy and persecution, mainly connected to Grace's backstory. But the filmmakers keep their focus mainly on the story, the characters, and the movie's desperate mood. The child actors' performances are good, but it's Keough who really impresses: She keeps things constantly off-balance with her genuine, uncertain sense of torment and terror.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Lodge's violence. How much is shown/not shown? How did it affect you? How did the use of a gun change things?
Is the movie scary? What do you think makes people want to go to the movies to be scared?
Is drinking glamorized? Do the characters here drink socially, or do they seem to drink for other reasons?
To what degree are the children in danger in this story? Do they make it out OK at the end? Are they innocent?
- In theaters: February 7, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: May 5, 2020
- Cast: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Richard Armitage
- Directors: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
- Studio: Neon
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing violence, some bloody images, language and brief nudity
- Last updated: May 4, 2020
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