THE LODGE (2019, streaming on Netflix) left with me severely mixed reactions. On the one hand, it’s artistically very well done, and it’s great horror if you define such as breaking boundaries and taking risks. On the other hand, the big twist and reveal is so nonsensical and mean-spirited as to not so much deny willing suspension of disbelief as slap it in the face.
The film sets up a divided family, with Dad dating Grace and wanting his kids to join them for a Christmas trip to a remote lodge. Dad has to leave, a blizzard comes, and then things take a very dark turn for the strange. It’s best to set the film up as generally as possible, so you can enjoy the process of discovery for yourself. The first two acts of the film are handled really well, with plenty of tension, simmering conflicts, and some good acting, particularly by the magnetic Riley Keough.
The conceit of Dad leaving his girlfriend with his kids who clearly resent her struck me as pretty ridiculous, but I went with it, accepting it as necessary for the plot to move forward. When things get weird, the story gets pretty involving, and what’s great about it is there are multiple possible explanations for what’s going on. When the big reveal comes–suggested earlier in the film–it was a surprise to me. It was under my nose, so to speak, but I’d discounted it. The writer in me–I’m no stranger to hurting my fictional darlings–appreciated the choice, though the movie watcher in me rebelled at just how over-the-top mean-spirited and implausible it was.
The film comes in for a very dark finish that has its own twisted sense of justice to it, but the film had already half lost me by that point. So I’m at a loss how to grade this one. There was certainly a lot to appreciate, but in the end its final act resulted in the whole missing the mark for me. As always, YMMV.