The Lodge @ Fantasia

Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala

The Lodge is an atmospheric horror film that pulls viewers deep within the madness of its claustrophobic rooms and childhood trauma. Starring Riley Keough (American Honey, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Grace, fianc to separated father of two, Richard, played by Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Hannibal).

The Lodge takes place at Richard’s desolate family lakeside home located hours north of civilization. As Richard must return to the city for work, Grace and the children find themselves trapped inside by a winter storm. Protective big brother Aiden played by Jaeden Lieberher (It, St. Vincent) and sister Mia played by Lia HcHugh (A Haunting, Totem) blame Grace for replacing their mother (Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame) and are not happy about spending alone time with their new stepmom.

Grace seems timid and a little distant but appears to be making an effort to get to know Aiden and Mia. The children, however, are aware that Grace is the only surviving member of a mass cult suicide that their father has written a book about. Grace has understandably not come out of her adolescent experience unscathed. She is anxious and depends on medication to stabilize her emotions.

The house feels ominous from the moment we step inside. The rooms are small and narrow. The real lodge is juxtaposed with imagery of Mia’s dollhouse, an exact replica of the family’s country home. The ambiguity of whether the viewer is looking at a room in the lodge or a room in the dollhouse is unsettling and weaves through much of the film.

The Lodge is a 108 minute nightmare that delves deep into Grace’s psychological unraveling and is reminiscent of The Shining and Hereditary. Franz and Fiala are no strangers to unsettling home isolation, as executed in the 2014 Austrian film “Goodnight Mommy”. As the film’s secrets start to reveal themselves the tension does not ease up until the credits roll thanks to enthralling performances by Keough, Lieberher and McHugh.

The Lodge premiered worldwide at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019 and is scheduled for release in November 2019.

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