The Lodgers

12/05/2018 19:34

Film: The Lodgers

Year: 2017

Director: Brian O’Malley

Writer: David Turpin

Starring: Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner and Eugene Simon



This was a film that I checked out during my roundup of films for 2018 to see where this would land. I had heard a review on a podcast, so it did intrigue me to check it out as well. The official synopsis for this film is 1920, rural Ireland. Angelo Irish twins Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate.

The synopsis actually continues on and gives a little bit more away than I wanted so I’m going to cut it off there. We start off with Rachel. She wakes up by a lake in a panic. She rushes home, leaving her book behind. She goes up to her room and her brother, Edward, says something to her. It is then that we get a nursery rhyme that lays out the rules. The first is that they must be in bed by midnight, the second may not permit outsiders past the threshold and the final rule, if one attempts to escape; the other’s life is in jeopardy.

We see the following morning though that the twins are completely different. Rachel doesn’t want to stay there anymore and she feels punished by the curse. Edward on the other hand wants to go through with their legacy. He hasn’t been outside since the death of their parents.

Rachel heads to town for supplies and this turns everything upside. On the way there, she sees a young woman, Kay (Roisin Murphy), with Dessie (Moe Dunford). He is trying to get her to fool around with him. They hear Rachel and this causes Kay to flee. We see later that Dessie is a proud Irishmen who is also a ruffian.

In the village, Sean (Eugene Simon) returns home. Maura (Deirdre O’Kane) is excited to see him, as he is her son. Dessie and his friends aren’t. Sean is returning from World War I and they think he is a traitor as he fought for the English. Kay is his sister. Sean also lost a leg and he is broken by what happened to him. Rachel comes to his mother’s store where she receives a letter. She is also behind on her tab with the store. The letter reveals that they are out of money in the trust and that Bermingham (David Bradley) is on his way to reconcile their debt any way that he can. Sean is interested in Rachel after seeing her and she thinks she might have found a way out of her curse.

The first vibe I really got from this film is that it is reminisce of Edgar Alan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. We have two siblings who are the last of their family line. Their house is falling apart and they are out of money. The big difference here is that there is literally something that is keeping them in the house. I do like that the film reveals this and things that are revealed when Rachel speaks to Sean. She states that they are being punished for what their ancestors did and there is a black mark on them because of it. They are faced with following it or trying to break the curse, which is where they disagree. The film pushes there is a possible incestuous relationship from the beginning.

This film also has a motif of water, which is interesting, because that can be a sign of healing. There is also something with the water falling upward; like that gravity is working the wrong way. This is shown a lot and it confused me until the reveal at the end. Then it made sense and I didn’t mind it anymore.

There is also a duality in the film. Being that they are twins, there is a psychic connection between them. We see things are mirrored when Rachel and Edward aren’t together, but they are doing the similar actions. Even the things they are saying are completing each other’s sentences. What makes this even more interesting is that Rachel will be with Sean or Bermingham, but Edward is alone. I like this idea as is he talking to himself or are the entities that are keeping them there real?

I won’t sugar coat this that there is entities in the film. If you know me, I prefer them to reveal this at the last possible moment, as seeing characters descend into madness is one of my favorite concepts. I know many people hate that as a copout way to go, but I personally don’t mind it. The problem though in this film is that the pacing is a bit off. The film meanders for me until the fateful night where everything comes together. I kind of wished if they are going to have the entities, then to go ahead and show a bit more of them. I like the ideas that are being presented, but just the execution. I also really didn’t like the ending as it doesn’t seem like it should be resolved how the characters think.

I will say that I thought the acting was good. Vega was solid as the female lead. I like that she wants out of this house and into the world. It is through Sean that he tells her the world isn’t a beautiful place like she thinks. This brings up the cliché ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. She has been living in fear, so I can’t blame her. She was also quite attractive. Milner is solid as the weaker counterpart to her. He just wants to live his simple life and fulfill his legacy, even though it is a tainted one. Simon is also good as broken soldier. He went to do what he thought was right and saw the horrors of war and the world. Bradley is solid as a solicitor trying to help them. I like that there is a bit of a perverseness to him in an advance me makes. Dunford was fine, but I don’t think him and his crew are really needed in this film. They don’t add a lot.

As for the effects of the film, there were some and I’m assuming they were CGI. If they were, they weren’t bad in my opinion. It was interesting the use of water, especially having it move upward against gravity. I’m assuming this was done with computers, but it looked just fine to me. Actually getting a look at the entities was fine as well. They really didn’t scare me. What I did like is that they are kept to the shadows for the most part. I did like when they were moving in the background though and even look good when we get a direct look. The film was shot very well also.

Now with that said, this film does have some good concepts, but I do think that it fell a bit short in the execution. I do like the concept of a cursed family that is forced to live by certain rules. The duality that comes from that and the horrors of the world are also good. I thought the pacing though did hurt it a bit. The acting was fine for the most part and the effects were solid as well. The score of the film wasn’t bad, but it also really didn’t stand out to me either. It did fit for what they needed for sure. This is an interesting haunted house type film, but I thought it was lacking a bit. Overall though I’d still say it was above average and I would recommend if you’re a fan of these types of films.


My Rating: 7 out of 10