The Lodgers – Film Review by Katie McCann
Director: Brian O’Malley
Writer: David Turpin
Stars: Charlotte Vega, David Bradley, Moe Dunford
The Lodgers is a new Irish Horror movie directed by Brian O’Malley that follows in the long standing tradition that old dilapidated houses equals spooky as hell.
Twins Rachel and Edward have been living in isolation since their parents suicide some years ago. Their existence is made all the more complicated by the lodgers, an unseen force living under a trapdoor in their very old, very creepy house. In order to exist in harmony with these phantoms the two must follow three simple rules: be in bed by midnight, don’t let strangers into the house and never leave. For Rachel these rules are becoming harder and harder to follow and are driving her into the arms of Seán, a local boy recently returned from World War 1. It is safe to say her brother is none too pleased with this but, more importantly, neither are the lodgers.
There are two elements that stand out in The Lodgers. Firstly, the setting is extra creepy. Everything about the house lets you know that something evil is afoot. Filmed in Ireland’s most haunted house, Loftus Hall, every inch of the screen drips with chills and the overbearing shadows of a doomed past. It is quite frankly the perfect location for a film such as this. The second element that elevated the film is the sound track. Music in horror movies is key and the composers here have pitched the sound perfectly. Creating just the right amount of suspense and chills in the score.
Unfortunately, even with all this going for it, the film fells like after the initial set up it loses its way. Not sure if it’s a suspenseful thriller or an out an out gruesome horror, the plot becomes a bit too meandering, even throwing in a subplot about hostilities surrounding the Irish War of Independence that the film could easily do without. The danger outside the house is far less engaging than the twisted reality of what’s going on within. There are basic issues with the script where at times it feels terribly over written. Frequently, we have things explained to us that have been made abundantly clear to the audience moments before, leaving you with the sense that the makers of the film didn’t entirely trust you to “get it”.
There are some great performances however from the young actors, particularly Bill Milner whose sunken eyes and gangly frame make you fear and pity him all at once. He pitches Edward’s confusion and fear perfectly making him entirely compelling to watch.
While The Lodgers does allow for some jumps and thrills it ultimately fails to leave the audience with anything really tangible to hold on to. Though it shows a huge amount of potential, in the end it ultimately fails to reach it.