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The promise of a good old fashioned gothic horror story stirred some keen interest in this veteran horror fan, but there still remained some trepidation after watching Del Toro’s Crimson Peak a few years ago, which was all style and no substance.

The fact that The Lodgers has yet to find a cinematic release here on Australian shores also had a whiff of failure about it.
Nevertheless, when I saw that it would get a screening at this year’s Irish Film Festival, I dusted down my long black coat and ventured out to Paddington to see if there was life in this old fashioned genre or not.

It certainly had promise, and all the hallmarks one would expect with a dark and desolate abode, remote and cut off from the world, where all that lies within are Rachel and her twin brother, Edward, who harbour their own secrets.

As the house falls into disrepair and their inheritance dwindles, the siblings are forced to face up to their prophecy, but will they reside to their fate or resist the inevitable?

The cast all hold their own with a plethora of familiar faces, ranging from David Bradley and Eugene Simon (both from Game of Thrones) and Moe Dunford (Vikings), but it is the troubled twins who steal the show as Bill Milner’s brilliantly disturbed Edward, who delicately hinges on the brink of sanity and despair, whilst Charlotte Vega proves to be a force to be reckoned with on screen playing out Rachel’s sexual awakening and curiosity as she struggles with her past and a potential future. Her captivating performance on screen could well prove Vega to be a rising star.

The film does offers some familiarity with Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw which should delight some fans of the genre. I also liked the use of water leaking into the house and into the twins lives as they try to shut out their past, only for the water to keep seeping through the cracks and getting closer every day showing that director Brian O’Malley has potential behind the lens.

The Diagnosis:

There are elements that promise to tighten the sphincter but too often the film falls prey to old horror tropes and when it looks like it might deliver, falls short in the process.

It’s a shame because with a bit more thought and effort, The Lodgers could have been elevated alongside The Woman In Black or The Others but instead languishes at the bottom of the flooded basement.

It’s watchable but don’t hold your breathe for any out and our scares.

– Saul Muerte