The Lodge DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 101 Films
Directed by Brad Helmink and John Rauschelbach
Written by Deb Havener
2008, Region 2 (PAL), 83 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 14th January 2013
Elizabeth Kell as Julia
Mandi Kreisher as Desi
Kevin McClatchy as Henry
Owen Szabo as Michael
Liz Jones as Victim #1
Deanna Cramer as Victim #2
"The Shining meets Cabin in the Woods,” the DVD cover proudly proclaims. Remember that bit in Cabin in the Woods, where the grumpy dad from Stepbrothers had a big list of nasties set to unleash upon the movie's unsuspecting teenage idiots? Bottom of that list must have been “sleazy rapist panty sniffer and his grubby old lodge.”
A gratingly oversexed couple travel to the remote Two Rivers Ranch, where Julia's boring boyfriend hopes to make a predictable proposal. But first: lots of sex, booze and pot. Third wheel to their terrible tandem is Henry – the lodge's creepy caretaker. While young Michael and Julia busy themselves shagging all the time in every room, Henry rifles through their bags, steals their shit and has a good huff of Julia's undies. Meanwhile, there's blood in the garage and a weird young girl is loitering around the grounds looking haunted and spooky. Maybe if the pair didn't spend so much time smoking weed they'd have noticed something was amiss earlier.
Where the first half of The Lodge is predictable but inoffensive, it doesn't take long for the film to turn distinctly rapey. The film's synopsis and DVD blurb promises a dark mystery and sinister secrets, but there isn't any. Henry is exactly what he first appears to be – a rapist. Just one look at the fellow and you'll be thinking, “well he looks like a bit of a rapist”. Way to play up to expectations, dude. The little girl might as well not be in it, for all she brings to the story. The Lodge is just another in a long line of straight to DVD horror movies which substitutes horror and atmosphere for the easy exploitative unpleasantness of innocent women being raped repeatedly and then tortured afterwards. The rape/revenge thriller or horror movie may have its place in cinema (the 1970s and French arthouse films) but The Lodge simply uses it as a cheap tactic to shock. Why bother with genuine scares and tension when you can just show how horrid the bad guy is by having him rape someone? It's a depressing tend which shows no sign of relenting anytime soon. With no use for its male protagonist, The Lodge just ties up Michael and leaves him in the attic for most of the second act.
The actors do well enough with the material they've been given, but the only standout turn is Kevin McClatchy as horrid Henry. It's a shame that the film couldn't find him anything better to do than play a Last House on the Left (2009) or I Spit on Your Grave (2010) reject, since he acts everyone else under the table. The lodge itself is nice too, and would have been a good setting for a better horror film. The fact that the film is actually quite slick in places leaves an even worse taste in the mouth – suggesting that it could have been more if it had wanted to. After an intriguing opening, it just falls back on the overused modern staples of torture and rape, confusing blunt cruelty with horror. As for the advertised 'mystery'? Hint: “will she/won't she get raped?” That isn't a mystery.
Depressing, predictable, stupid and cynical, The Lodge is low-budget horror at its very worst. Pop that in your TripAdvisor and smoke it, The Lodge.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds good, its low budget lending the film a sense of grit.
There are no special features on this disc.