horror, Movies, Reviews, scraping the barrel

Scraping the barrel – The Lodge

Continuing my trawl through the worst dreck I reviewed in the days I’d watch any old crap, I present you here with my piece on horror bilge The Lodge. This originally appeared on the Screenjabber website.

Opening with a nasty pre-credits scene – which also acts as a handy spoiler for any suspense the next 40 minutes might have – Brad Helmink and John Rauschelbach’s film The Lodge settles into a painfully generic groove from which it never jumps out.

A couple arrive at a wilderness lodge set in idyllic surroundings for a dirty weekend. Upon arrival they startle the not-at-all-sinister lodge manager. We know he is the lodge manager after the couple ask ‘are you the lodge manager?’ This is because he asks them ‘who the hell are you?’ with the steely gaze of a dead eyed psychopath rather than offering a cheery welcome. There is a moment where Mr. Clearly A. Psycho looks all confused and you can see the thought ‘what lodge manager?’ pass behind his tungsten cold and murderous eyes, he then replies ‘lodge manager? Why yes, I am the lodge manager.’ He thoughtlessly doesn’t then add ‘I am not an obviously creepy psychopath, and yes this is blood on my hands, but that is nothing for you to worry about’ despite that fact that he does actually have blood on his hands.

Literally. Blood. On. His. Hands.

The couple shrug and accept his explanation that he is preparing venison in the garage. Later the boyfriend will tell the panty sniffing loon about how hot his girlfriend is in bed and offer him a spliff.

After a lot of jumping each other’s bones all over the place. The annoying couple retire only to be awoken by an alarm going off in a previously locked room. ‘Alarm clocks don’t just go off’ yells the girlfriend, neatly ignoring the fact that this is the sole purpose upon which alarm clocks are predicated.

There follows the usual cat and mouse shit, with a creepy kid thrown in because someone watched some J-horror. A nasty opening suggests the film is going to try and go for a grim seventies vibe but it hasn’t the conviction to be properly unpleasant. The Lodge is the sort of film that wants to be controversial by including sexual violence, whilst at the same time cutting away to spare blushes. It is also detestable enough to include a child in the rape scene as an observer (thankfully the actress looks about 25, slightly mitigating the shitty aftertaste this leaves).

The suspense is pitiful. There is one scare of the LOUD-music-sting-whilst-someone-runs-past-a-window sort. The psycho keeps appearing behind people in a way that evokes the shopkeeper in Mr Ben. And the menaced couple consistently act in a manner that suggests they have been chemically lobotomised. ***SPOILER*** The final twist is something that will induce acute intestinal agony in anyone who has ever seen more than one horror film in which someone sat in a front seat of a car and sighed relief that the nightmare was over.

Special mention must go to Yagmur Kaplan for what is I believe one of the worst horror scores in recent memory, the sort of thing you would expect to find on a royalty free CD discovered down the back of a desk in the edit suite of a community college.

On the upside the film has some nice scenery. I especially liked the many shots of meadow blooms in the breeze.

The film has a production date of 2008 but was not released in the UK until 2013. This does not surprise me, I’m only shocked anyone could be bothered releasing it at all. There is a huge box quote comparing it favourably to The Cabin in The Woods and The Shining of all things, I do hope the author has now received the shock treatment they so clearly need. If not I would appreciate it if they would drop me an e-mail to youquotewhoringbasterd@thisiswhypeoplehatecritics.com and I will be happy to turn the dial to ‘rapid-fry-up’ and throw the switch.

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