Reviews: a haunting movie from Ireland – Lodgers
Directed by Brian O’Malley,
Starring Charlotte Vega, David Bradley, Moe Dunford, Bill Milner, Deirdre O’Kane
A supernatural tale set in Ireland in the early 1920s. A small Irish town is the home to two young siblings with a very dark secret. They are isolated from the rest of the town, living on their estate which is slowly falling into ruins. Rachel and Edward live by rules in the lyrics of a song, and a dark presence has taken over their lives. Now that they are about to turn eighteen there is a certain dark task ahead of them, one that Rachel is reluctant to undertake.
I’ve mentioned many times that ghost stories, both real and fictional, are the happy place that I go to when stressed. I watch nearly every paranormal show, love traditional ghost stories, and it makes me happy. Do I think that every bump in the night is a ghost? No, you’ve got to attach common sense to this stuff folks, but I do believe in the paranormal. I honestly thought that The Lodgers was going to be a traditional ghost story but in some ways it’s far superior, and in other ways there are parts of the film making process which let it down.
Lets get the few negatives out of the way first, shall we? The dialogue in the script is a tad bit laboured at points, just some extra work on set could have polished that up, and there are some subplots that should have been explored more. Also life in the small Irish town that is just outside the estate should have been more developed, there was room to do so, and it would have added more to the film. There, that didn’t hurt too much now did it? Not that many negatives, really, nothing that would stop me, or you from going to see this in a cinema.
The positive points are the performances of Rachel and Edward, who are played perfectly by Charlotte Vega and Bill Milner. Milner is just as chilling as the story as Edward is so creepy you question every move that he makes. They play twins, and their family was once wealthy, however after a number of joint suicides of their ancestors the family’s fortunes have failed to keep them going. Vega reminds me a lot of Jennifer Lawrence in Mother, but this is a good film rather than whatever it is Mother was, and you get her longing to escape from whatever mysterious bond they have from the house. The supporting cast here all add to the Gothic feeling of the film, including David Bradley, Moe Dunford, and Deirdre O’Kane.
The atmosphere of the film is practically seeping from the walls of the run-down mansion where the twins live, to the point where the house becomes a character in its own right. What you think is going to be a simple ghost story turns deeper as the family connection to the house becomes clearer and the danger from the past comes to life. As Rachel desperately tries to find a way out from the house and the predestined fate that her brother wishes for them to continue, she falls for a young man who is home from World War One, which adds its own tension in just dramatic circles, as young Irishmen who went to fight in the Great War were often thought of as traitors.
The Lodgers takes what could have been a very mundane ghost story and transforms it into a deeper, darker. slow-burning chiller which, although it has plain and obvious flaws, is also one of the more enjoyable horrors that I’ve seen in a while and yet another addition to the interesting run of horror movies that have been coming out of Ireland in the last few years. The understanding of the genre by the writer and the director makes The Lodgers stand alongside films like The Others with ease.