When watching most horror movies, there comes that moment where you wish you can warn the characters not to go to the isolated, dangerous place they seem hell-bent on heading to. Obviously, with a movie entitled The Lodge, I was subconsciously shaking my head within the first ten minutes, thinking what a bad idea it was for them to head out of town for the holidays.
After suffering a shocking tragedy, Richard (Richard Armitage) walks on thin ice around his kids for six months, but finally feels it’s time to introduce them to his girlfriend Grace (Riley Keough). To say the kids are unhappy is an understatement. After refusing to eat a single meal with her, I already suspected that his idea of them spending Christmas in an isolated lodge would end badly. Trust me on this.
I honestly felt for all of these characters. None of them appear to be saints, although daughter Mia (Lia McHugh) has a bit more patience with their father’s new flame than her brother Aidan (Jaeden Martell). They all are dealing with tragedy and trauma to an extent not often seen on camera. Riley Keuogh captures the madness incredibly well and every time there was a close-up of a character’s face, I found myself wondering what was going through their heads. Usually, it was nothing pleasant.
The thing one should know before walking into movies like this is that it’s more psychological than your average film. It’s slow burn is similar to Hereditary and it even shares a symbolic similarity I won’t spoil here. Some scenes are incredibly disturbing and it’s hard not to think of The Shining when watching a family struggle with the snow and cold as well as their own sanity.
On top of wanting the characters to not stay in the lodge, I was constantly worried what they might find out as the film progressed and the madness ensued. The films first half is its strongest and I honestly was a bit frustrated with its second act, but I have to give Goodnight, Mommy directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz credit. This is a tough story to tell, and though it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, I was curious as to what I had missed. Perhaps I’ll stomach it a second time, but not during the holidays.