Out next Friday is The Lodgers a Gothic horror starring Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner, and Eugene Simon from a screenplay by David Turpin and directed by Brian O’Malley.
The Lodgers follows twins Rachel (Vega) and Edward (Milner) who are isolated from their community from an unseen force that demands that they follow three rules or suffer the dire consequences. These rules are as follows: 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. These are seemingly simple rules to live by (granted it turns their lives into a prison) but there is an even darker meaning behind these rules that become more apparent as the film progresses to its climax. As the film opens they are “celebrating” their eighteenth birthday which Rachel takes as the opportune time for them both to leave the house and try and make a life of their own in the outside world. Unfortunately, it is clear from the get-go that Edward doesn’t want to leave, he’s become a shut-in since finding his parents corpses in the lake within their estate several years prior. Not only that but a young man has come back from WWI and when he and Rachel first meet during one of her trips to the local village for food there is a clear and present attraction and this further complicates the situation with Rachel and Edward. This sets the stage for a macabre tragedy filled with disturbing performances and haunting cinematography.
The Lodgers is a stunning film evoking an incredible sense of the macabre, the cinematography from Richard Kendrick is easily the best part of The Lodgers. From the disturbing interior of the mansion Rachel and Edward reside in which feels eerily alive to the beautiful landscape of the grounds that the mansion is situated within. There’s a wonderful sense of the hereafter that I believe can only be found in the forests of Ireland and Kendrick and director Brian O’Malley have utilised this to its fullest potential.
Inhabiting this world is an intimate cast headlined by the bewitching Charlotte Vega who gives such a powerful performance as this young woman itching to get away from the family that has literally tied her down to this place she once loved but has now come to despise due to what it represents. Accompanying her in this twisted tale is Bill Milner as her twin Edward, Milner gives a decent performance playing the creepy twin with disturbing motives well but that is it he isn’t given nearly as much to do as his female counterpart. His performance in the film isn’t so much about his acting as it is his presence in the film because though his acting is okay his presence is impactful especially when you couple it with the cinematography.
What I loved about The Lodgers was the building of the world, the rules of the house, the disturbing supernatural elements that pop up every now and then but these are also some of the more frustrating problems that I had as The Lodgers reaches its the third act. This is due to the fact that all the rules that have been laid down in the first act start to fall apart as the film comes to its climax on top of that the surrounding characters in the rest of the film feel like non entities when everything of importance is happening to these three characters and nobody else. The film is also predictable when it comes to some of its supposed darker elements but the acting and cinematography keep it from making it too banal.
The Lodgers is a fascinating film with a lot of great ideas, Charlotte Vega is a standout and the world is unnerving but twists that don’t feel particularly earned and a third act trip stop it from being something truly special.