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The Lodgers Review

The Lodgers Review

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In this new Irish gothic horror, The Lodgers explores family secrets, unwanted legacy and what lurks outside your bedroom door at night. Directed by Brian O’Malley, a seasoned horror director who is known for Let Us Prey (2014) and written by newcomer David Turpin, this film is the perfect combination of spooky tension and engaging cinematography.

Boy child, girl child, listen well…

Heavily influenced by the style of 1961 horror film The Innocents and turn of the century gothic literature, The Lodgers tells the story of twin siblings Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) who live in their old family manor in rural Ireland. They’ve lived on their own since their parents’ death, yet it seems they are not alone.

As their eighteenth birthday approaches, they are expected to take up their parents’ mantel, as theirs did before them, to continue the dark traditions their family have held for over 200 years. With suspense that grows from the very first scene, and steadily grows during the film’s 92 minutes, the true nature of the lodgers is revealed.

I personally love a good horror, but one that is spooky and tense as opposed to one with full blown gore and jump-scares. I feel this flick gets the balance just right.

the lodgers

Be in bed by midnight’s bell…

Even though their lack of experience is clear in some early scenes, Charlotte Vega and Bill Milner do their job well as haunted siblings trying their best to live in an unwanted situation. Milner in particular gets even better in his portrayal of Edward as the film progresses. As Edward’s mental state deteriorates and his sister tries to distance herself from the house and it’s nocturnal occupants, its Edward that really drives the creepiness home.

Never let a stranger through your door…

The main thing that stands out for me though in this production is the design. The film location itself, Loftus Hall in Co. Wexford, has some fantastic dilapidated interiors and has been described as the “most haunted house in Ireland”. Shot by Richard Kendrick and designed by Joe Fallover, the combined effect of their styles flows well. Together they create the ultimate gloomy period look with some beautiful accents and details. The bedrooms in particular feature numerous details and dressing that not only compliments the characters but also highlights their differences. The spooky ‘master bedroom’, formerly occupied by their parents, features a foreboding four-poster canopy in blood-red velvet, which could have come straight out of Crimson Peak or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and really sets the mood for what’s to come.

the lodgers

Never leave each other all alone…

All in all, I found this a very enjoyable film. It has its flaws, mainly in some underdeveloped characters and less-seasoned actors, which can be expected in an independent horror. Yet I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the overall look and suspense of the film. If you enjoy your gothic horrors and a little bit of a scare, but not too much, then this could be for you.

In cinemas throughout Ireland now.

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