Review: The Lodge / Cert: 18 / Director: Brad Helmink, John Rauschelbach / Screenplay: Deb Havener / Starring: Kevin McClatchy, Owen Szabo, Elizabeth Kell / Release Date: Out Now
A tediously oversexed young couple head to an expensive woodlands lodge for a week of boozing, heavy petting and pot. Unfortunately, neither of them has anticipated the presence of the lodge's creepy owner – a panty-sniffing loner who casts a sleazy eye over hottie Julia and harbours murderous thoughts towards boyfriend Michael.
Despite its cheeky attempt to cash in on Cabin in the Woods' popularity ('it's like Cabin in the Woods crossed with The Shining!' – which is a lie), The Lodge is a very straightforward psycho thriller. With a core cast of four, there's no surprise to its outcome, nor seemingly any real reason for it to exist. There's a brief subplot about a creepy little girl being spotted around the grounds of the lodge, but it's quickly explained away in a yawn-worthy revelation.
However, disinterest turns to disgust as The Lodge heads into rapey-er territory. Rape is (unfortunately) a familiar device in horror films, but The Lodge uses it with depressing nonchalance. It's not even marked by an unpleasant atmosphere or in-your-face anger – the film just treats it as another tool its villain has at his disposal, like Freddy's glove or Jason's machete. And when it's done, it's done – The Lodge goes back to what it was before. Too many modern horror films are guilty of casually using rape as a tool to show the villains' power, and The Lodge is amongst the worst, because it has the audacity to use it with a shrug. Whatever happened to genuine scares, atmosphere and story?
At least, for a low-budget film, it has some decent acting and an interesting location. Kevin McClatchy is the best of the bunch as Henry, cutting an imposing, formidable figure, in spite of a boring script and silly motivations. Kell and Szabo are fine as Michael and Julia, although the script does neither of them any favours. The direction is slow and workmanlike, never managing to make the most of the actors or setting (some decent cinematography could have made the place feel like The Overlook Hotel or Yankee Pedlar Inn). An obvious lack of funds doesn't help, but that's no excuse for having no ambition or imagination.
The Lodge isn't particularly terrible, but nor is it very good either. Its mediocrity would be more forgiveable if it wasn't for that lazy rape scene and its indifferent attitude towards it. Tired after a long day and looking for somewhere to pull off the road? Channelling our inner TripAdvisor, we'd recommend you find alternative accommodation.