Saturday, May 23, 2020

Terrible Children

The Lodge (2019) - Franz, Fiala
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, the Austrian duo, behind Goodnight Mommy, is back with another terrible children's game gone wrong movie. This time, children are a little older (played by Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh). The film moves along in brisk pace to leave all the implausibilities and plotholes behind. And that is all the better for horror movie like this. Franz and Fiala, again as was with Goodnight Mommy, are very good at psychological horror. This time, it's Riley Keough, a stepmom-to-be who gets tortured and driven into a mental and physical breakdown.

The divorce takes a toll on a mom (Alicia Silverstone) of two children, Aidan and Mia. Dad (Richard Armitage) is dating Grace (Keough), who was the subject of his book about the only survivor of a mass religious cult suicide led by her father (the kids look her up on google). Not long after he tells her his intention to marry Grace, mom kills herself. Six month later, dad is planning on trip to a lakeside lodge for Christmas, thinking it is a good time to have Grace and kids get to know each other and accept one another. He has to do some stuff in the city, so Grace will have some time with the kids for a couple of days.

With creepy soundtrack and their glacial visual aesthetics, Franz and Fiala excels at building up tension and add another classic to "cold horror" genre. Kids can be innocent with their games, but they can be vicious. F&F seem to tell us with two features now that they think us humans are capable of unspeakable violence and cruelty and it is in our innate being. I suspect their next film will be about young people doing mean things? Oh wait, that was done and it was called Funny Games by fellow Austrian.

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