Riley Keough Is At Her Terrifying Best, In ‘The Lodge’
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Writers: Sergio Casci, Severin Fiala
Stars: Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Riley Keough, Jaden Martell, Lia McHugh
Austrian filmmakers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala created a nightmare with a house in the woods, a story fueled by doppelgängers both real and imagined. Think of their new, English-language thriller, “The Lodge,” as a lesser but not ineffective mirror image to that picture. “The Lodge” is a psychological and brutal film about grief, faith, and escaping your past.
The story begins with a depressive Laura (played by Alicia Silverstone) dropping off her teenage son, Aidan (played by Jaeden Martell), and daughter, Mia (played by Lia McHugh), at the home of their father, Richard (played by Richard Armitage). Richard wants to finalize their divorce; Laura breaks down in anguish, and at this point in the story you become fully engrossed. The directors begin to shift the story’s perspective though from Laura to Richard’s new fiancée, Grace (played by Riley Keough). Richard decides it would be a great idea for the kids to spend the Christmas holidays with Grace, who they truly can’t stand. The idea is Richard will drive them to the family’s remote cabin in the middle of snowy nowhere, for a little bonding. Soon, however, Richard is called back to the city for work.
Franz and Fiala at this point let tension mount slowly and deliberately, all without the usual jump scares. Their suspense building strategies are unorthodox, yet will remind you of the chilling sense you got from the 2018 blockbuster “Hereditary.” Throughout the movie I felt we we’re in for haunted-house scenario’s, instead I was served a dash of suicide-cults, complete with flashbacks to duct-taped bodies and other sinister imagery. Fiala and Franz toy with the truth, and keep you guessing as to what’s real and what isn’t. The movie’s strongest asset is by far Keough, an actress who can seize and hold the screen with electrifying force, powerful in her quieter and recessive moments. At the films end you will query reality, particularly in the last act. The questions “The Lodge” provides will remain with you long afterwards.