Grinchmas 2023 · Horror · Horrorthon365 · Microreview · Movies

Grinchmas 2023: ‘The Lodge’ Importantly Asks if it’s Ever Possible to Fully Leave a Cult

Since I have cults on the brain at the moment, let’s dive into Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s Christmas horror ‘The Lodge’ (2019).

Richard Hall (Richard Armitage) is a journalist who breaks a story about a particularly gruesome religious cult after a mass suicide event with just one survivor, Grace (Riley Keough). As he immerses himself in the story, he falls in love with Grace, who seems to be responding to reprogramming efforts. In the process, Richard leaves his wife. But Mrs Hall — Alicia Silverstone in a brief but explosive and haunting appearance — takes her own extreme measures in the wake of their impending divorce. She leaves behind two hugely traumatized children Aiden (Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh), who resent their stepmother-to-be more than it’s possible to describe.

To encourage their bonding over the Christmas holiday, Richard decides it’s a good idea for Grace and the children to all hang out at their isolated lake cabin in the woods. But when he’s suddenly called back in to work and the three are left alone and snowbound, disturbing things begin to happen. Beginning with Grace misplacing her cornucopia of antipsychotic and other medications that keep her in reality, not the flashbacks of her life in the death cult run by her sadistic father.

As their connections to the outside world are cut off one by one through the bitter cold and raging snowstorm, Grace’s internal torment quickly externalizes, with horrific results.

Since I’ve been on the topic of cults for a few days now, ‘The Lodge’ asks a vital question: Is it ever really possible to fully deprogram? This isn’t just relevant to religious cults. It also speaks to the cult-like behavior of certain political leaders like the USA’s 45th president who have created an entire alternate “post-truth” reality that his followers continue to support. And the resulting violence when these now-fundamental beliefs not based in reality are challenged by outsiders. As we see in ‘The Lodge,’ the results are beyond devastating.

To leave a cult requires true humility and remorse. Which seems to be too much to ask in this film, and in real life.

✨Dollhouse/5 stars. Highly recommend being your own person and not falling into group-think, no matter how convenient or comfortable it may be.✨