Those who have followed my musings for the last few years will know that, yes I am British and that my love of horror movies has no bounds.
With those two elements combined it’s no wonder that I have strong attachments to Hammer Films and the wonderful movies that they produced throughout the 60s and 70s and often starring the late greats Sir Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Since those golden years I’ve watched with a keen eye, the resurrection of this much-loved company under the guidance of their CEO Simon Oakes.
This journey has seen them admittedly stumble along finding a unique voice in a plethora of genre movies and make their mark once again.
2010 would see their first full length feature in the brilliant, Let Me In. Despite the film’s strength it was married by the masterful Let The Right One In, a Swedish version of the story released the year before that sent ripples through the community and has become a modern classic in some circles, because of this Hammer found itself in the shadows still.
Their next two features would cause a minor stir with The Resident and Wake Wood, which still pose strong stories but failed to click with a wide audience.
This wouldn’t occur until Woman In Black hit the screens and proved to everyone that hallways can be scary, if atmosphere is played in a certain way.
With that release, Hammer had struck a chord and not surprisingly look to replicate this again, unfortunately the sequel couldn’t match it’s predecessor and The Quiet Ones also released the same year, did not connect or resonate with its audience.
Even Dame Helen Mirren couldn’t stop this downward trajectory that Hammer was facing four years later with the woeful and messy plotline delivered in Winchester.
Was Hammer’s magic wearing off?
Could they invoke that mystery once again?
With the release of The Lodge, I would argue that they can and hopefully turn things around once more.
Whilst it still isn’t at the levels of Let Me In and Woman In Black, falling marginally short in its execution and this is purely down to predictability and in my opinion, not allowing the true horror of the situation unfold to the psychological steps it could have gone to.
Having said that, writer/directors Veronika Franz and Severin Flava (Goodnight Mommy) alongside fellow scribe Sergio Casci have produced a remarkably disturbing film that turns the notion of gaslighting on its head with a suitably modern twist.
The most compelling part of the narrative is the way that characters are portrayed so that the audience is never quite sure who it should pay allegiance to.
Each of the participants display positive and negative sides of their personalities which ebb and flow throughout the film as they tackle both spiritual, mental and physical ordeals.
The picture paints a story of a fractured family which sees the father, Richard (Richard Armitage) leaving his wife, Laura (Alicia Silverstone) for a much strikingly similar looking but younger, Grace (Riley Keough).
The fact that Richard and Laura have children, Aidan (Jaedan Martell – IT, IT chapter two) and Mia (Lia McHugh) only makes the situation more complex, especially as they see the mysterious rival to their mother.
From here on, the kids look at how they can make life difficult for Grace and a potential situation arises on a winter retreat to the titular lodge.
Hammer Films have produced a colourful film in a stark landscape built on a tide of emotions indicating a return to form.
The performances are compelling with all the actors showing a range of emotional turmoil and delivered by a creative team who continue to push the boundaries of the psyche.
– Saul Muerte