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'The Lodgers' TIFF 2017 Review: Atmosphere aplenty, but this Gothic horror lacks genuine scares

September 13, 2017Ben Mk



   
Everyone loves a creepy ghost story. And that's exactly what Let Us Prey director Brian O'Malley aims for in The Lodgers — even tossing in some good old-fashioned incest for good measure.

A 1920s-set tale of an Irish family burdened by a centuries-old curse, the film follows Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner), fraternal twins who must abide by three simple rules — be in bed by midnight, never let strangers into the house, and never leave each other alone — in order to avoid provoking the supernatural entities that dwell beneath their floorboards. Now that their 18th birthday is upon them, however, Rachel yearns to break free. But the siblings soon find survival becoming an increasingly difficult proposition.

With cinematography that excels at conveying an ever-present chill, suspense follows naturally in The Lodgers, though the same can't be said of the movie's ability to elicit genuine fear. More atmospheric than anything else, this slow-burning take on classic Gothic horror ultimately flickers out into a wispy smolder.

The Lodgers is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Contemporary World Cinema programme. Its runtime is 1 hr. 33 min.




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