You can see where "The Lodgers" is going, but you might not mind watching it go there. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
Movie review |
If you, like me, are a sucker for a) crumbling Gothic mansions where things go bump in the night, b) period costumes involving “French Lieutenant’s Woman”-esque hooded cloaks, out of which one may gaze pensively sideways, c) mysterious secrets concealed in attractive lockets, d) excellent linen bedding and lace curtains, and e) dramatic things happening on and around grand staircases, allow me to recommend the Irish thriller “The Lodgers.” Not because it’s particularly good — to use an old-school phrase, “The Lodgers” is writing a Gothic check it can’t quite cash — but because it offers the beautifully-shot pleasures of a) through e). And you can always go read “The Turn of the Screw,” or watch “The Innocents,” if you want a classic Victorian-era ghost story.
Filmed at the breathtaking Loftus Hall, a real-life haunted mansion in County Wexford, Ireland, and directed by Brian O’Malley, “The Lodgers” focuses on a twin sister-brother duo: 18-year-old Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner), orphaned long ago. As punishment for sins in their family’s past (oh, you’ll guess it soon enough, locket or no locket), the two are condemned by a curse to live alone together in their family’s haunted estate; never letting outsiders in, never venturing out of their rooms after midnight. Rachel, the sensible one of the two (the bar’s low, mind you), chafes at these restrictions; Edward, a ghostly pale fellow with a penchant for carrying birdcages about, seems to be going quietly round the bend. “We’re an unusual family,” he remarks. No kidding.
Cue the ghostly visions, alarming flashbacks, stormy nights, resentful villagers, doomed love interest for Rachel and lingering shots of exquisitely peeling William Morris wallpaper. “The Lodgers” is never particularly scary, or even logical, but it’s always gorgeous to look at; you can see where it’s going, but you might not mind watching it go there. And if it leaves you wondering where to buy a similar (but presumably not cursed) locket, well … movies can move us in many ways, not all of them mysterious.
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★★ “The Lodgers,” with Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner, David Bradley, Eugene Simon, Moe Dunford. Directed by Brian O’Malley, from a screenplay by David Turpin. 92 minutes. Rated R for some violence, sexuality and nudity. Ark Lodge.