Cinema’s Greatest Triumphs: THE LODGE
Watch your ass, I’m spoiling both THE LODGE and GOODNIGHT MOMMY like one sentence from now.
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are smart people who make artistic horror, which means folks can let themselves get even more excited about it. Their first film, GOODNIGHT MOMMY was about a pair of alien-looking twins who torture their mother to death. And if you thought that was crazy, it turns out one of them is imaginary.
Obviously, when it came time to follow that film up with a big English language movie, the last thing they’d want to do is a film where twin children torture another adult. And they didn’t. The kids in THE LODGE aren’t twins.
Aiden and his sister Mia are, like all kids, a couple of assholes. They are assholes when they get their way and they are even bigger assholes when they don’t. Everything is a prank to them, no matter how severe. Before they were even born, they poked holes in their parents’ condoms.
Eventually, the stress of their shenanigans caused their parents to get a divorce. The dad, who is of course part asshole as well, decided to roll with it and started dating again. The mom, kept trying to get the family together. So the kids swapped her novelty pistol Pez dispenser with an actual gun.
With no mom, the kids have to meet their father’s new girlfriend earlier than expected. She is a lot. For starters, she was also once an asshole child. Her father ran a cult, and she pranked the entire congregation into committing suicide. She feels bad about it now that she’s a new adult and tries to make up for it by being quiet and supportive to her much older professor boyfriend and his two, very obvious, problem childs.
I can already tell some of you are looking at this film in disbelief. This is all too ridiculous to take as seriously as the score demands. To make it all work you have to understand two things: People from countries with free healthcare rightly overestimate the stupidity of Americans and there is nothing more evil on this planet than children.
You have to keep both in mind as the dad proposes he, his young new girlfriend from the death cult, and his two morally suspect children spend Christmas together in a secluded cabin and then suddenly bails on them once they arrive. There have to be easier ways to break up with your TA.
The kids get to torturing right away. They drug the lady with drugs they have, remove all food and personal items from the cabin (including drugs she has), sabotage the heat and electricity, set up a moaning ghost sound effect machine, order more snow so no one can escape, pay someone to dress up like Beetlejuice and pop up every once in a while…
The idea is to convince the lady they all died and now live in the afterlife. She doesn’t believe them at first but then the boy cuts his own head off and it floats about a foot above his neck. You might wonder how a kid could even do such a thing. Magnets, you morons. They can repel each other, read a book.
After that, the lady gives over to the afterlife theory. The kids succeed. There’s sort of a moment of “now what?” before then the tables start to turn. They figured she’d just kill herself but made one crucial mistake by forgetting she was once a kid too. No longer held back by physical restrictions or the morals of any now disproven religious beliefs, the lady gleefully starts torturing the kids. It’s easy because she is bigger than them.
At this point, the dad returns. He surveys the situation through a window. Everything in the house is missing and his girlfriend is sitting on his kids and making them hit themselves. He silently turns around and gets the hell out of dodge. There will be other hot TAs who grew up in cults.
Eventually, she tortures the kids to death. Their silly pranks finally undid them. Then, the lady dies of hunger. She wakes up in the real afterlife. In the cabin. With these fucking kids again. Luckily, the real Beetlejuice is there, already torturing the kids because Beetlejuice is sort of a kid at heart.