1920, rural Ireland. Anglo-Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Each midnight, the mansion is haunted by the sinister presence of “The Lodgers,” which enforce three rules upon the twins: they must be in bed by midnight, they may not permit an outsider passed the threshold, and they must stay together. When troubled war veteran Sean returns to the nearby village, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel, who in turn begins to break the rules set out by The Lodgers. The consequences pull Rachel into a deadly confrontation with her brother and with the curse that haunts them.
What We Thought:
The Lodgers is the gothic horror flick Crimson Peak wishes it was. It’s creepy and dark and has a nice twist to it.
The film revolves around a brother and sister who live in an old family home during early 20th Century Ireland. They have no other family and the family they did have has a very messed up secret. They can live their lives there, but must stick together, be in bed by midnight and not allow anyone else in the house. As they get older, the sister, Rachel, wants more out of life. Edward, the brother, appears to be a sickly sort and strongly lives by the family rules. As the film moves along, you see what happens when they don’t follow the rules, but I won’t spoil that.
It also explains why they must follow the rules and the family’s icky secret. That secret helps push the story and keeps it from being just another one-dimensional horror story. We’ve kind of seen similar ideas in horror, but not in this setting.
That’s what I like most about the film, the setting and production design. The family estate is falling apart. The wardrobe and costuming are top-notch. Set design is spot on. You really get a sense of where and how they live. There is no doubt the family history has taken hold and kept outsiders out.
Plus the camera work is also good. You get a feel for the location, inside the estate and also out on its grounds. The pond area and woods especially. The camera follows Rachel around as she pushes to get away. Edward never leaves the house and you feel his claustrophobia in it. Whether it’s scenes in the tub, in water or around the house, the vibe you get from the camera is gothic.
Charlotte Vega is fantastic as Rachel and makes The Lodgers really good. I quite liked the film and it’s something I can see myself watching again. It doesn’t rely too heavily on jumpscares which is a major positive to me. It has a good setting and great production design. If you are tired of The Conjuring clones, give this a shot.