Tracker Pixel for Entry

The Ice Cold Horror of ‘The Lodge’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | February 26th, 2020

“Goodnight Mommy” filmmakers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala continue to carve up chills, thrills, and nightmares in “The Lodge,” a Sundance 2019 favorite finally receiving the theatrical release it rightfully deserves. With an unrelentingly oppressive atmosphere in the claustrophobically framed location of the title, “The Lodge” is perfect slow-burn arthouse horror that never cheats and always rewards the patience and intelligence of the viewer. Accordingly, jump scares are mostly banished in favor of a psychological head trip that hides the dread in plain sight and lingers long after the lights come up. The less one knows about the film the better, and woe to the many reviewers who have already revealed too much.

Like Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” “The Lodge” explores familiar experiences of trauma through the lens of horror. In this case, the particular facet of grief is a painful divorce that unravels the children of Richard (Richard Armitage), a journalist who has, perhaps inadvisably, fallen in love with his subject Grace (Riley Keough), the sole survivor of a fanatic doomsday cult’s mass suicide. With that bloody red flag firmly planted, Richard’s kids Aiden (Jaeden Lieberher) and Mia (Lia McHugh) understandably want absolutely nothing to do with the strange intruder threatening to replace their mom Laura (Alicia Silverstone, making every moment count).

In a set-up worthy of Shirley Jackson or Rod Serling, a planned Christmas holiday at a remote cabin trades comfort for panic when Richard leaves Grace alone with the children for a few days. With all the necessary two-way animosities well-established, it is only a matter of time before the past comes calling on the present. The carefully constructed back-and-forth fuels the core of “The Lodge,” and Franz and Fiala improve on the themes they established in “Goodnight Mommy” by manipulating audience sympathies between the children and their stepmother-to-be, who take turns as antagonist and protagonist in seesaw balance.

The straightforward brilliance of the movie’s premise allows two equally plausible explanations for the unsettling occurrences unfolding before our eyes. The scenarios compete for logical primacy in the viewer’s mind. Grace’s sinister past, rendered via indications that she must work very hard to function with a degree of self-control and a sense of safety, provide her with a motivation equivalent to the expression of anger and frustration expressed by Aiden and Mia. All the performances are true, but Keough is especially riveting.

Franz and Fiala beautifully capture the film’s locations. Interiors are a set of rooms so deceptively simple that the prowling camera is all it takes for us to begin projecting our own visions on the chilly spaces. Winter’s icy presence can be felt outside as well as inside, and in both realms the compositions arrestingly juxtapose the long shot with the close-up, disorienting us in parallel to the mounting anxiety. “The Lodge” has already drawn comparisons to “The Shining,” which does share a preoccupation with eroding mental health via the metaphor of isolation and cabin fever. But Franz and Fiala scale down Kubrick’s more expansive vision, and the result offers its own kind of skin-crawling satisfaction.

Recently in:

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has started to make its rounds in the United States. As of Tuesday, Mar. 17, three residents in North Dakota, 11 in South Dakota, and over 60 in Minnesota have been confirmed to have the disease. The…

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

Not long ago, we did not have Coronavirus or Covid-19 in our vocabulary. Now our worlds have been changed. And that change is not stopping anytime soon, it would appear.Most of us are in the same boat. Our businesses are in…

Fact: In 1979 We Had 19.5 Million Manufacturing Jobs; Today, 12 MillionThat’s just one of the startling statistics revealed in two books reviewed by Helen Epstein in the New York Review of Books. The titles indicate the subject:…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Veteran sound editor and USC professor Midge Costin educates and entertains as the director of “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound.” An engaging, entry-level crash course on the role of audio in motion picture…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

by Martin C. Fredricks IVmcfrediv@gmail.comCould this be the week supporters of President Donald J. Trump finally wake up and see his true colors?As late as Monday, March 9, Trump was trying to push off the threat of coronavirus,…