Cast: Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner, and David Bradley
Director: Brian O’Malley
90 minutes (15) 2017
Thunderbird DVD Region 2
[Released 25th June]
Review by Christopher Geary
Brother and sister, Edward and Rachel are cursed twins stuck together in an old haunted house in rural 1920s Ireland. Troubled by debts, the rundown estate appears in jeopardy from sinister forces clearly that are far greater than house-keeping money problems, and there is something of an unholy evil lurking beneath a trapdoor in the hall.
The Lodgers is a ghost story based on wholly traditional themes, such as Poe’s absurdly morbid Fall Of The House Of Usher, but it’s also a movie that’s infused creatively with decidedly modern imagery, including nudity with some hints of incest, mixed together with excellent visual effects. These occasionally graphic sequences complement the production’s lavish or creepy cinematography, which owes quite a lot to genre iconography of The Grudge franchise.
Much like The Others (2001), this eerie but compelling romantic mystery unfolds slowly to reveal its dark secrets that include a remorseless family curse of suicidal drowning. A concerned but intrusive, and somewhat predatory, Mr Bermingham (a great cameo from David Bradley, of TV vampire series The Strain), is obviously doomed.
Elsewhere, after he is branded as a traitor by local villagers, crippled war veteran Sean (Eugene Simon), pursues Rachel, but soon becomes involved much deeper in her situation than he wanted or expected to. Packed with telling details, characteristic nuances, and mortal perils, The Lodgers doles out a sumptuous compendium of murmuring anxiety and bloodless frights.
Of course, this all ends with coldly irrational passions and watery supernatural violence. Irish location shooting in Wexford (where the haunted Loftus Hall mansion is claimed to be 666 years old!), benefits from set-pieces of dramatic irony, and ensures this movie is very welcome and worthwhile viewing for any fans of strange and shadowy cinema. The Lodgers presents the right kind of stylish blending of ethereal beauty and gritty realism, and the winning combination grants this chilling fable of immortality, between the wars, all the striking atmosphere and grimly fatal charm of the very best modern fairy-tales.