Directed by: Brian O’Malley
Starring: David Bradley, Eugene Simon, Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner
1920, rural Ireland. Anglo Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Each night, the property becomes the domain of a sinister presence which enforces three rules upon the twins: they must be in bed by midnight; they may not permit an outsider past the threshold; if one attempts to escape, the life of the other is placed in jeopardy. When troubled war veteran Sean returns to the nearby village, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel, who in turn begins to break the rules set out by The Lodgers. The consequences pull Rachel into a deadly confrontation with her brother – and with the curse that haunts them.
This was my first time seeing a horror/thriller at the Toronto International Film Festival! I’m not huge on horror films, but there was something about this one that grabbed me. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it took place in the 1920s or maybe it was the mention of twins living in a haunted house together. There was just something that made me feel like this was a horror film that I needed to see.
What I Liked
The characters. The characters were key in this story. First of all, we have twins. Of course we have twins in a horror film. They live alone after the death of their parents in a very obviously haunted house. The twins are cursed and are basically trapped within the home, threatened to never leave. When one twin decides she wants to break free from the curse and explore what is outside of their house, the other twin remains fearful of what may happen if they break the rules. Both of these characters really made this story work.
The atmosphere. An old house in the middle of nowhere, gated to keep anyone from entering/exiting. Check. Surrounded by woods and a small pond/creek/lake. Check. Gravity defying water. Check. There were just so many amazing visuals throughout the film that completely set the tone for this horror film. Everything fit together perfectly in order to creep out the viewer.
The time period. I don’t know what it was about The Lodgers being set in the 1920s that added to the overall creepiness of this film, but it definitely worked. Let’s say there was a film set in modern times and they stumble across an old rickety house. They find old pictures of the people that used to live there in the 1920s. That’s what these characters looked like, especially Edward. Those creepy old photos. Mix that with the atmosphere mentioned above, and you have a great setting for a horror flick.
The creepy lullaby. A horror movie that features a creepy lullaby complete with music box-esque sounds? Yes please. I mean…it’s super creepy…but that’s the point right?! This motif never fails to give me the heebie-jeebies.
The horror visuals. I quickly mentioned gravity defying water above, but that was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to some pretty unique horror visuals. We have floating naked bodies. A cellar door that became the main focus of the home. Eccentric drapery throughout the home, whether it be as a canopy above a bed or sheets that hid things that used to belong to the twins’ parents. Hell, even the ripples in the lake freaked me out. The visuals throughout this film were on point.
What I Didn’t Like
The predictability. I’m not sure if things that happened or things that were revealed in this story were meant to be shocking or not, but it was definitely predictable for me. There was a key detail that I just knew from the beginning which was revealed towards the end of the film. There also weren’t any audible gasps from the audience so I’m going to assume that either we were all on the same page or it wasn’t meant to be shocking.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film! It was dark and creepy and visually beautiful! I’m not a big horror/thriller person, but I really enjoyed the concept and visuals behind this story!
Thank you for reading!