The Lodgers (2017)
Directed by: Brian O’Malley | 94 minutes | drama, horror | Actors: Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner, Eugene Simon, David Bradley, Deirdre O’Kane, Moe Dunford, Roisin Murphy, Brendan O’Rourke, Emmet Kelly, Anthony Murphy
Director Brian O’Malley debuted in 2014 with the atmospheric ‘Let Us Prey’. That supernatural horror thriller was unprecedented and a bit depressing. The strong acting and symbolism – there was flirtation with religion – ensured that the Irish filmmaker’s business card stood out. Three years later the successor ‘The Lodgers’ appeared. Also a horror film, but of the more subtle kind. This is a ghost movie.
‘The Lodgers’ is set in 1920 in Ireland. Twins Rachel and Edward live on their family estate. Every night the house is visited by a dangerous entity. This monster has three rules that the twins must abide by: they must be in bed by midnight, they must not bring unknown persons inside, and they must not escape. A war veteran who lives in a neighboring village is attracted to Rachel. He tries to free her, but that turns out not to be a smart idea…
O’Malley manages to evoke an uneasy atmosphere from the start. You feel something is wrong with this movie. The twins have an unusual bond and the mansion has a rather creepy feel to it. The location – a remote nature reserve forgotten by everything and everyone – indirectly indicates that something is not right. This mood setting is nicely extended. The twins are seen as a bunch of outcasts by the villagers. These people also have a few things to hide. ‘The Lodgers’ is made up of mysteries.
The acting is also of a high standard and so is the camera work. The film looks beautiful and the gloomy use of color enhances the mysterious and disturbing atmosphere. What distinguishes this production from the average horror film is that ‘The Lodgers’ mainly relies on the atmosphere instead of blood fountains. This approach pays off, because this film gets under the skin thanks to the controlled narrative.