THE LODGERS (2017)
The Lodgers, a gothic ghost story set in 1920’s Ireland asks, if the sin of a father is grievous enough, will it not just fall on the son, but last for generations? Twins, Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner), live by themselves in a crumbling mansion that has been home to their family for 200 years. During what should be a joyous time for the pair, as they celebrate their 18th birthday, quickly descends into terror, when the supernatural force that shares their home becomes more forceful with its desires. The Tailored Films production will be released by Epic Pictures on Friday, February 23rd.
Brian O’Malley is fairly new to the film world. This is his second feature-length directing effort and he is showing a ton of potential. The main task of a director is to make decisions. Everyone from the actors, to the cinematographer, to the costume department provides the director with choices and is his or her job to make the best selections for the film. An example of his good decision-making shows in the costuming. It is very well done and fits in perfectly with the “real” haunted house that was used as the film's main setting. Loftus Hall is said to be haunted by the devil and the ghost of a young woman who died after being confronted by the beast in 1666. I think O’Malley did an excellent job making his selections for The Lodgers throughout the film.
In my opinion, the film only has one true weakness. The movie’s sole writer, David Turpin, is a first-time writer, and while I think he did an above average job, there were some issues. The first one is in the dialogue between Rachel and her love interest, Sean (Eugene Simon), as the tone of their conversations and the pace of their relationship changes at a dizzying rate. The bigger issue is the lack of payoffs for all of the tension that Turpin and O’Malley are able to provide. It is not because they don’t try to be scary. It’s just that for me they fail in their attempts. I am sure that there will be viewers that find the presence of the entity and how it preys on the twins to be terrifying, but only if they are easily scared or horror movie novices.
I enjoyed the work of Richard Kendrick, the film’s cinematographer. He did a lot of great work with running the film in reverse to make water flow in unnatural ways. The underwater work or the work he did to enhance the CGI in the underwater scenes were fantastic. The characters seemed ethereal and powerful, but no match for what lives in the depths. Kendrick also makes the woods around the mansion look so lush and beautiful that I want to go and explore the Irish countryside and its ruins. The film’s composers (Kevin Murphy, Stephen Shannon, and David Turpin) did a wonderful job, from the creation of the creepy nursery rhyme that gives us the rules of their world, to the score during the climax. The music is always informing how we should feel during a scene and is highly effective at ratcheting up the tension.
I think this is a very strong period piece and horror film. While it has some issues, I would recommend it before similar well-known movies, such as Crimson Peak or The Others.
By James Lindorf