THE LODGERS IRISH HORROR
Film Review by FIORE
“A new level of horror”. It seems to be the catch phrase all horror films are using today in an effort to draw attention to the title or set the work apart from others. Often, it’s just a PR phrase, and nothing of note. That seems to be the case with the latest independent horror film from Brian O’Malley, THE LODGERS. I kept waiting for something horrible to happen in this film, but nothing ever did. There was one cool sequence involving an underwater dimension, but a similar sequence was used in Jordan Peele’s GET OUT, so the scene had a been-there-done-that appeal. While THE LODGERS contained little horrors for me, it could be due to a cultural distinction.
THE LODGERS is an Irish movie. The Irish film Board teamed with Epic Pictures for its release. Written by David Turpin, it’s entirely possible the movie was more frightening to Irish folks; but for someone weened on ghosts, vampires and werewolves since elementary school, the occasional appearance of a nude corpse was not enough to cause me shivers.
The story unfolds in a quaint little town, around the time of World War I. Rachel, played by Charlotte Vega and her twin brother Edward, played by Bill Milner, are reclusive siblings living in a large, though neglected mansion just on the outskirts of town. They are a queer duo, prompting derision and loathing from the townsfolk. When Sean, played by Eugene Simon, returns from the war, he is captivated with Rachel and attempts to draw her from the Gothic shadows of her mansion to the world outside, much to the chagrin of her brother.
THE LODGERS isn’t so much scary as it is weird. Halfway through the film, there is still an atmosphere of confusion to its premise and the tracking of the plot. The acting and technical aspects of the film are all fine, save for the script, which is painstakingly slow and bereft of elements that comprise the horror genre.
There have been several independent, foreign horror films released recently which have failed to impress me. DAGUERROTTE TYPE, KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, and TEMPLE serve as examples. These movies held chills for their native audiences, but I found nothing spine-tingling in any of them.
So perhaps it’s a cultural thing. Perhaps the Irish will find THE LODGERS scarier than I did; after all the film did capture three different awards on the film festival circuit. So, if ye be tending to believe the blarney, then see THE LODGERS. It may give you a chill. I think if you want to see a film about a family cursed by incest, you’re better watching the remake of THE CAT PEOPLE, with Malcolm MacDowell and Natasha Kinski.