Combustible Celluloid
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With: David Bradley, Charlotte Vega, Moe Dunford, Eugene Simon, Bill Milner, Deirdre O'Kane, Roisin Murphy
Written by: David Turpin
Directed by: Brian O'Malley
MPAA Rating: R for some violence, sexuality and nudity
Running Time: 92
Date: 05/29/2018

The Lodgers (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

House Stressed

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Brian O'Malley's The Lodgers may not be flat-out scary, but it gets points for its Gothic atmosphere and for its patient, careful approach to a pretty good story. As it begins, in the 1920s in the Irish countryside, the pretty Rachel (Charlotte Vega) awakens from a nap in the grass. It's late, but she panics and begins running for her life toward home, even leaving her book behind. Apparently she must be inside by midnight or... something awful will happen. Her twin brother Edward (Bill Milner) is already there. Pale and nervous, Edward never even leaves the house. Something has set rules for them to follow. These keep them there, in the house, alone, and demands that others stay out.

The next morning, it's the twins' 18th birthday. Edward seemingly has some expectation of doing icky things with his sister, but she wants no part of it. During a shopping trip, she meets Sean (Eugene Simon), recently home from the Irish War of Independence and scorned by his neighbors. He takes a liking to Rachel, and, despite her reservations, she to him. Some rules are going to be broken. At the same time, it seems that a longstanding trust that has been set up for the twins has run out. Lawyer Bermingham (David Bradley, who was Filch in most of the Harry Potter films) insists that they sell the house, but Rachel — she's the one in charge — refuses. Then, Bermingham makes the mistake of showing up at the door.

The Lodgers is polished and professional, but it's also a bit tentative. There could have been more at stake, and there definitely could have been more of a sexual simmer among the characters. But I liked the visual quality of the reveal, which is far more gloomy than startling, and the general, all-around atmosphere, in shades of chilly blues and grays. The performances are all serviceable, with the exception of Moe Dunford as the town bully. It's not Dunford's fault, though; the character is annoying and unnecessary. Yet for a low-budget effort, the movie is certainly not bad. Given what genre fans usually have to choose from (see the recent The Manor), it gets a pass.

A Blu-ray release from Epic Pictures features a fine transfer and excellent sound. Bonuses include a 22-minute making-of featurette, 2 minutes of deleted scenes, trailers, and various options for language tracks and subtitles.

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