The Lodge

If you're looking for a film to put you in the Christmas spirit, search a little further. If you're looking for one to depress the hell out of you, check out what Simon requested of us. This taught, psychological horror film never lets up until its devastating conclusion.

Thank you, Simon, for the request!

the lodge poster
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Ep 281 – the-lodge

Todd: hello and welcome to another Christmas edition of two guys in a chainsaw.

I’m Todd and I’m Craig, the movies that we’ve been doing so far have been pretty silly this week. Uh, Craig chose for us to do something a little more serious. Uh, dare I say, downright nihilistic. 

Craig: I didn’t know. 

Todd: You had to have some clue because the director of this film, uh, several. Fiala and Veronica France also did good night, mommy, which, which is also, um, oh, a similar tone, I think, in this, to this movie.

Craig: Yeah. I did know that and that should have been a major tip off because that movie was really good, but, but dark, uh, dark and gripping. Yeah. And this movie is to build on, like, I, I don’t even remember if I watched the trailer. I must have, but I just, you know, I read the story and it, or I read the synopsis and it did sound like, you know, potential for like family drama.

Um, 

Todd: but or 

Craig: something like that. Yeah. But I didn’t really know what I was getting into. And, um, honestly, like I was, I was watching it yesterday. Oh my God, this is one of our Christmas selection.

Todd: Yeah. Well, the movie is called the lodge from 2019. Also apparently a request from Simon. Uh, so thank you, Simon. For this, we really hope that you’ve met, uh, the 2019, the lodge and not another horror movie that I found online also called the lodge. But I think that was like 10 years earlier than this. Yeah, Christmas movie.

Well, it does take place during Christmas. That is kind of one of our criteria, right? It’s very snowy. There are Christmas decorations going down, but as far as the Christmas spirit goes, I don’t know. I mean, depends on how your Christmas is go. Mine are usually a little bit more cheerful and this movie really?

Uh, yeah, it was pretty depressing. I, once it was done, I just kinda wanted to. Before we get going, we have to give our standard warning that this is a kind of movie that will surprise you and keep you guessing throughout it. So, um, if you’re at all interested in watching it and I think you should, for sure, uh, just, you know, just know you might want to kill yourself by the end of it

have loved ones nearby. You get the suicide hotline out, you know, something like that. It’s a pretty intense movie from beginning to end. And I think that actually that was one of its strengths, but yeah, if you want to see it, then go see it before you listen to this because we’re going to spoil it. All right.

Probably just going to spoil it all pretty soon. 

Craig: Maybe you could summarize the whole thing in five minutes, which I actually did last night because the movie stuck with like, it’s, it’s one of those movies. That’s hard to shake. Like when you’re, when you’re done with it, it’s hard to shake it off. And so.

Telling my partner about it last night. And, and I told him like, you know, the setup and then like, and then it just, it just gets even more bleak from there. And he’s like, well, I’m not going to watch it. So you may as well tell me, so I did, I just ran through the whole thing in like five minutes. And you can, but at the same time, I took a bunch of notes.

Like way more than usual. It’s not like things aren’t happening. Things are, things are, things are constantly happening. Within the confines of a very small space. And, uh, I don’t know, like ultimately most of the things that happen are on their own, fairly inconsequential, but it’s just this building. The thing that struck me most about this movie was that I was in a constant state of dread throughout the whole thing.

I was just kind of 

Todd: waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s like a sword dangling above you though. 

Craig: I wasn’t scared, at least not in the traditional way, but like, I just constantly felt like. This is so bad and everything like anything that’s going to happen is going to be bad and it’s going to turn out horribly.

And I was just, uh, I was, I really just, honestly, I was tense throughout the whole thing up until the very, very, like, until the last moment. And I, okay. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t end well, and I knew that it wasn’t going to, and I was just waiting to see what horrible tragedy was going to ensue. 

Todd: You know, I mean, they see that this is constantly listed as a psychological horror film.

And, you know, I don’t know if anybody’s really defined what a psychological horror film is. I would say all horror films are psychological to a certain extent, but we’re talking what the movie really does. Well, I think from the beginning is it really opens itself up to a lot of possibility. Like it could be super natural things going on.

It could not be, you know, right. Who is going to be the, what you might say, antagonist, you know, kind of keeps changing through the movie. Like you’re not quite sure who who’s going to be causing the problems, you know, or who’s going to be kind of behind what’s going on. And then even when it starts to become a little bit more clear, there’s a little bit more to learn.

And then he just marches relentlessly towards, you know, is going to be a very bad conclusion and you hope it’s not what you suspect it might be. And it almost more or less for me anyway, turned out to be that after we’re talking like all these abstract ways, 

Craig: but, you know, I didn’t know exactly where it was going to go.

I just had a strong certainty really that it was whatever it was going to be was not going to be good. 

Todd: No, nothing’s going to wrap up well, right. 

Craig: You said nihilistic and I think that that’s probably the, a great adjunct. To describe it. Another thing that I said when I was describing it last night, it’s like, it’s just a series of terrible, terrible decisions.

Like yes. At any opportunity that somebody has a choice, it’s just the worst possible decision that they could possibly make. 

Todd: Also, this is just, I just thought, you know, I just realized it’s filled with unhappy people. Yeah. Nobody from the very beginning of this movie, it’s a tense family situation.

Nobody’s happy and nobody ever gets happy, you know? And that adds to a certain, I would say like psychological claustrophobia, right? Yes. You don’t see a wide range of emotion. It’s just, it’s just all bad. 

Craig: I mean, that’s the thing, that’s another thing that made it so dreadful to me was that it was, it’s a movie that’s based in real human trauma.

Like these things, you know, the things that happen, God forbid that such a devastating series of events would happen to people, but it’s all realistic. 

Todd: Yeah. And I thought, you know, there was a point at which I think the movie purposely leads you down a path where you think there might be something supernatural happening, but perceptively, I think pretty early on you realize, oh, that’s not even the worst that could happen.

This could be it’s much worse that there is no supernatural thing that this is like you said, ground in unreal. And that this kind of stuff can and probably does happen to people. It also, I’m just thinking about it now. I think a movie could be pretty triggering for folks. 

Craig: Oh God. Yes. There are so many, uh, triggering things about it.

In fact, there are things that happen and it’s going to be, it’s going to be in the next five minutes that we probably talk about it that I don’t want to talk about. Like let’s, uh, let’s let’s do it. Let’s at least get it started. Let’s warn. 

Todd: I think we’ve done enough warning here. Don’t don’t contact us and say, we triggered you.

Okay. You’ve had your morning now. There’s if there were things like suicide, uh, general family drama, death in your family, 

Craig: religious trauma 

Todd: cult, like, be it whatever. Like, um, yeah, this is going to push those buttons pretty hard because it deals with them in a brutally honest. It just rubs your face in it the whole time.

Yeah. Okay. 

Craig: First of all, if you’ve seen good night, mommy, which you should, because it’s a really good movie again, very dark, but I thought as far as filmmaking is concerned, an excellent movie. Yes. You’re going to be kind of familiar with. Tone and the style, but it starts with shots of what looks like an interior of a home.

It’s like these fourth wall shots, like you are the fourth wall looking in. And it reminded me very much of funny games, uh, the way that it frames the setting. It turns out that these initial interior shots are actually of a doll house that the two children who are central characters in this movie have in their home.

But we also see an image just apropos of nothing of a loaded gun. And then we meet Laura played by Alicia Silverstone, who I did not even know who was in this movie. 

Todd: That was crazy. 

Craig: She’s calling out for her children and they’re, you know, it’s not like they’re not responding, but they’re not coming running or whatever.

And she’s standing in front of a mirror and she just breaks down. She just breaks down, crying in front of this book 

Todd: that bothered me. 

Craig: It didn’t bother me and you, because I think you and I, of course I can only imagine. Desperately in love with Alicia Silverstone. Like any man who grew up in the woods, an adolescent or a teenager in their twenties, in the nineties, Lisa Silverstone was a goddess.

I mean, and she still is, but I feel like they, I told Alan last night, I said, either they ugly her up a little bit or they just did absolutely nothing to pretty her up because she looks like a normal person.

Her hair is a little, just a little unkempt. Um, you know, her face shows what is probably her actual age. I don’t know if they patted her or maybe she was just in a little bit fuller season of her life. I don’t know. But she doesn’t look like the sex bomb that we know from the Aerosmith videos, which I liked.

She looks real and it was. Very much suited for this character. Who’s a middle aged mother who we find out is going through a divorce. Her kids, Mia is young. What would you guess? Like eight, nine, 

Todd: I guess. Yeah, probably eight, eight or nine. 

Craig: Yeah. And then, um, she’s played by a young actress who, I don’t know anything about Leah McHugh and then Aiden, um, is the son who I would guess 12, 13.

And he’s played by Jayden Marshall who played bill, uh, in the most recent movies. Um, and he was also in knives out. I recognized him immediately and he’s a very talented young actor 

Todd: actors had to, especially the girl, I think really had a lot on their shoulders. Yeah. Yes. 

Craig: Yeah. It’s a very emotive. He nailed the role, requires a lot of.

Intense emotion and, and yeah, they, they did a great job, but the parents are getting divorced and the dad, his name is Richard has a new girlfriend who it appear, you know? I mean, we, we find out, but from the beginning, it it’s obvious that this is a very sore spot. Like the mom is taking the kids over to the dad’s house and the daughter is like, is she going to be there?

And the mom’s like, no, but when they get there, I think that the girlfriend is there. She’s leaving. The mom, sees her through a window and the dad pretends that she hasn’t been there, but the dad sends the kids away to the store or something. And he says, I need to talk to you. And he brings her in, um, listen, um, I think we should finalize the divorce

or we can. Stay where we are. We have to, um, okay.

I got to get married September. Okay.

In what I thought was just, I don’t know. I just thought it was so well done. Alicia Silverstone’s character just says, okay. And turns around and walks out and that’s it. And then the next time we see her, she sits down at her kitchen table. She pours herself, a small glass of wine. She takes a sip and then from under the table are from out of our sight line.

She pulls out a gun and blows her head off. It’s so abrupt. I mean, in hindsight it makes sense. It’s not like it should have necessarily been unexpected, but it’s just so abrupt. And of course here, Alicia Silverstone, who I am desperately in love with. And, and I can, she she’s in the movie for five minutes and I believe her as a devastated woman.

Um, and she just kills herself, brutally and graphically, right in front of you, 

Todd: they kind of pulled a drew Barrymore, honest didn’t day from scream, where you take your most famous and, and actress, and then tit immediately subvert your expectations by offing her right away. And it’s right in your face. Eat for me, it had a similar impact to a full metal jacket.

You remember that when private. Goes in. And just after he’s taken all this abuse and just, just wrote, walks and sits down and then pulls out a rifle and blows his head off right in front of you. It just came out of it. Like you said, it didn’t come out of nowhere, but it wasn’t what you were expecting at that moment because of the casing, right?

The pacing of the movie is just so slow. And it’s just, like you said, you can see her pain, you can see it was difficult for the husband to bring it up. You knew she wasn’t going to like it. And from that earlier scene where she kind of breaks down in front of the mirror before they go, she knows this as something like this is coming, like, she’s anticipating this when she’s dropping those off to the kids, the minute the husbands said, you know, bring them over and I want to talk to you.

And it’s just so real. And so that bothered me 

Craig: a lot. And that was the thing. Like, I don’t like to talk about suicide. I don’t want to. And so. Moving on, we move on to her funeral. And like you said, the little girl, I mean, it’s just as a kid would be, I mean, she is just devastated and just crying and it, I mean, it’s, it’s torturous to 

Todd: watch.

Well, it is. And I was just thinking also like what a terrible thing to do to your kids. Uh, see, that’s the thing, that’s why 

Craig: no one talks about it. I just ha I, I lack empathy when it comes to suicide and I don’t wanna come across as being a jerk, but that’s why I said just a series of horrible decisions.

Like, you know, this dad leaves his family for this younger woman. This mother who’s selfish. This mother who is obviously devastated by her own tragedy, kills herself. And you know, then these kids are left behind. I just, I, I don’t want to be judgemental about it because I understand that mental health is serious and I don’t know what people’s thoughts are in those moments.

And I don’t know what their motivations are. And so I don’t want to be judgemental about it, but it feels really selfish. 

Todd: And again, like the grieving was very real in this, the funeral scene, he frames things up like a Tableau sometimes. And. Here we have all of the funerary, uh, participants who were standing around.

They have these black balloons and the girl there’s a doll moot motif throughout this whole thing. And the girl is holding this doll that, you know, very quickly, well, it is literally represents her mother, but then it becomes like kind of a companion to her. It’s like her replacement for her mother is this doll that she can carry around and kind of talk to and dress up.

And that’s so heartbreaking in and of itself. And she tries to more or less send it to heaven by, you know, they’re going to release these balloons and she ties the doll to the end of the balloon, but as they all release the balloons and she’s the last one to release hers, of course the weight of the doll carries it back down to the ground and she just so frustrated.

She just picks it up and tears the doll off and lets it go and just cry some more. I mean, 

Craig: She’s devastated. She’s devastated. And I think that this is as good a time as any, because this shot of them standing in the sanctuary, which is a really interesting sanctuary. Uh, I mean, they, they, they have the funeral inside, but then they go outside for this balloon release and they release these balloons through like an opening in the ceiling.

That’s overlooked by a large cross. The movie is shot beautifully. Like the cinematography is just stunning frame. I mean, it’s just absolutely gorgeous. Like you said, the framing, I mean, it does, it looks like a picture. I mean, you look like you’re looking into a shadow box. Um, and so many of these scenes, it just looks absolutely 

Todd: gorgeous.

There’s not a lazy shot in the whole movie. No single one. 

Craig: Yes, it’s absolutely gorgeous. But yeah, that, that part where she wants to send her mom up. And then the next thing that we see is the dad is trying to comfort Mia, who is devastated and crying and saying, mommy, can’t go to heaven. You don’t understand.

And that part just broke my heart too. And I thought about it on different levels. Like I thought that the whole balloon thing was symbolic. Like she literally the doll that is a fuss similarly of the mother, you know, couldn’t ascend, physically couldn’t descend, but I don’t know because they don’t, at least in this aspect, they don’t play into the religious element of it too much.

But one of the tenants of many Christian denominations, including Catholicism, which I claim is that suicide is a moral sin. So. People who commit suicide, can’t go to heaven. And I just can’t imagine that weighing on a child, especially a child who’s been raised to believe, you know, that heaven comes out, you know, uh, God, it’s just, it’s, it’s a dark 

Todd: movie.

Well, he is in the very beginning. We’re only what, 10 minutes in to this two, almost two hour movie. 

Craig: Right. Which is why. Okay. So then it cuts to six months later and the next genius decision, the dad tells the kids that he wants them to go with him, to their family lodge for Christmas, but he wants grace to go with them and he can’t even stay the whole time.

He can only stay a couple of days. Then he has to go back to work for a few days or a week, and then he’ll come back for Christmas. So. I’m going to take you to our family lodge, where you have tons of memories of your mother and dump you there with my girlfriend who broke up our marriage and our family and leave you there with her alone.

Todd: Like what? 

Craig: And the kids are like what’s. No, thank you 

Todd: appropriately. So, and it’s interesting too, how there’s a little bit of time that goes by before we see her. 

Craig: Yeah. And oh, they play it like that. Like you see her in silhouette, you see her behind windows in shadow. It’s only when they’re getting ready to go.

And the dad greets her outside of the car and then she gets in the car and then the dad gets a phone call. He’s like, oh, hold on. I have to take this. And he gets out like, have the kids even met her? 

Todd: You just 

Craig: leave them in the car alone. But 

Todd: before that, we do actually see her as a younger child 

Craig: because they incense, 

Todd: the kid says something kind of cryptic.

He says something about her and the one from your book. Yeah. And you’re like, you’re like from her book, I immediately thought, is he a psychiatrist? And this is one of his patients. I immediately thought that I don’t know if there was a. Earlier on or not, but that was a, that was something I thought. And then sure enough, the kids go into his, sneak into his office while they’re there.

It’s Thanksgiving. I think also interesting. Like he tries to get her to join them for the Thanksgiving meal and the kids are protesting it and he gets a call from her and everything and he ends up meeting her outside and they kind of have a chat. And I think the implication is probably between the two of them.

They decided now is not the time. And so she ends up leaving again. We still haven’t seen her because it’s through kind of a fogged window, but then the kids that night go up into dad’s office and go through his stuff. Well, there’s a, an article that she was in a cult and it’s clearly everything kind of clearly references the heaven’s gate called, but also Jonestown is a little bit like this too.

Right? Where, where the, the leader of suicide call this woman’s name is. 

Craig: Grace is her character name. She’s played by Riley Keough. Who is the daughter of, um, well, it’s, Elvis’s granddaughter. 

Todd: She’s been in quite a few 

Craig: things. She hasn’t, she’s been a model and actress and has built a name for herself. But you know, she comes from, I don’t know, Hollywood royalty may not be the right word, but she comes from a famous family.

She 

Todd: was the only surviving member of this cult when everybody killed themselves. 

Craig: And she, and it said something like she, she was the only one, uh, who survived and she was supposed to spread the word or something. Like that’s why she was allowed to live. It’s weird. It’s important. But you see. Th, I mean, the kids see, they see video footage, you know, uh, I, I guess probably police footage, um, of when they came into this called, after the fact, after everybody had killed themselves in they’re all lying in beds, um, 

Todd: from the girl she was 

Craig: shooting it.

I didn’t know that. 

Todd: Oh yeah, she was shooting it. Cause, cause it’s it’s cam quarter and it’s first person and she’s walking through and kind of uncovering a few people from their sheets and you can see that they have a duct tape over their mouth that has the word sin written on it. And then she turns to the camera towards a mirror.

And that’s the first time we see her face is when she turns the camera towards a mirror. And we see her there in the mirror holding the camera. I thought it was interesting that that is the first time we see her as a child just after this event happened in this very creepy footage. And then they pile into the car and we get to see her adult face, like right after that.

Really smart choice, I think on the part of the filmmakers, but a, 

Craig: well, the movie does a great, it’s just a well-made movie, like before they leave, because they do, they, they go up to this lodge obviously. Um, but we see the kids playing at the doll house and whispering, and there are all of these scenes, not scenes, just shots, really of the interior of the dollhouse with the dolls placed in different ways.

And I didn’t really know what was going on, but ultimately it all pays off later. It’s it’s strange. Um, but anyway, so they, they pick grace up for the trip. And again, a point is made of not showing her face until she gets into the car and the dad leaves. And she finally turns around to say hello, and you know, she, she does look significantly younger than the father.

She seems like a young woman, I would guess in her twenties. Um, the relationship. I mean, that’s another thing, bad decisions. This relationship is questionable. You know, she, I don’t know exactly what it is that he does. I don’t know if he writes crime books or what, but obviously she was a part of something that he was investigating.

And so to get personally involved with her is suspect on its own. 

Todd: Yeah, exactly. And I, okay. So you think he was like a, more of like an investigator or a writer of true crime? That’s an interesting idea. I thought, I don’t know why, like I said, I don’t think the movie’s really clear about it, but I don’t know why I thought he was maybe a psychologist and she was one of his patients either way.

You’re right. It’s probably inappropriate and definitely kind of a bad move. You, you know, you’re inviting. But tangibly, emotionally unstable person. And I mean, look, you can do whatever you want be with who you want to be with and whatnot. But when you’re a family, man, you’ve got these kids. You’re recently divorced.

She’s 20 years old or something and she ha she’s infamous more or less. And she has his troubled past. And we can, we can guess that she’s going to be emotionally fragile and she’s not jumping in all bubbly from the get go. She tries to reach out to the kids and be friendly to them and nice to them. But she also seems to be rather understanding that it’s tough for them to, I mean, we get that evidence when, you know, she doesn’t come over for Thanksgiving and she doesn’t really push things with them and doesn’t try to be overly happy with them.

It’s it’s like, she’s pretty sensitive to what’s going on. But also, you kind of wonder if, how troubled she still is, you know, and that’s where a lot of this dread comes from. 

Craig: Uh, it only makes sense and I don’t blame them at all. And I’m sure that I would feel the same way that the kids resent her or they feel that, that, uh, she destroyed their family in more ways than one.

She broke up their parents’ marriage. Uh, they believe that she’s responsible for their mother’s suicide. And while that’s not fair, I think that if I were their age, I would feel exactly the same way. Um, so she’s in a bad position, but again, everybody’s making poor choices. Like I don’t like cheaters. I just don’t like I get it, things happen, but I don’t like cheaters.

And you know, the dad is responsible. He was the married one. He there’s obviously a power dynamic thing going on here. He’s older, he’s professional, she’s younger. And. Potentially vulnerable. I mean, it certainly seems like she’s vulnerable, but she made her choices too. So I don’t just bad decisions all around.

Don’t screw around on your wife. Don’t screw around with married men and then you can avoid these types of movies.

I will give her, you know, her name is grace. And I was going to say, I will give her some grace because she is trying, you know, they, they get to the lodge and she tries, you know, we see that she has gifts for the kids. We 

Todd: see that she has pills as well. 

Craig: Yeah. Well, you know, that’s fine. I mean, if, if, if she needs to regulate her mental health with medication, there’s nothing shameful about that.

And she knows, you know, she seems to be doing that, you know, she’s she’s okay. She just needs her medication. Yes. 

Todd: Yeah. And you know, like you said, this is their family lodge where they have all these memories. And so there are photos of ma actually we’re seeing, you can tell that the doll house that the girl was playing with is modeled after this lodge.

I mean, that’s how important is lodges to them. The girls plays in it and there’s a picture like an old Italian Renaissance painting of Mary that is miniature form in the doll house that is full form here in the, um, in the lodge and exactly the same place. I 

Craig: think that we can do this element of the movie justice because it’s, it’s not subtle at all, but it’s background.

I mean, how much can we talk about the decor? You know, like it appears that the Mo the mother, the bio mom, Alicia Silverstone’s character, it appears that she was. At least I don’t want to say deeply, cause I don’t know that there’s enough to suggest that, but at least somewhat religious, like there’s religious iconography around the house and, and that painting is particularly prominent.

It feels like that the painting, especially, but all of the religious iconography. And then on top of that, the doll who I believe is meant to literally be an icon of the mother. Like the mother is so present throughout the movie, it’s like, she’s there, like she’s observing all of this. And, and potentially even manipulating is not the right word, but like, like she’s playing an active role.

It’s really well done. 

Todd: And you mean this in kind of a medal? I mean, you clearly, you mean this in a metaphorical way, because there is a point in which you do wonder if there’s some supernatural things going on. If the actual ghost of the mother, a literal ghost of the mother is haunting the house, it turns out that’s not the case, but you’re right.

Like the figurative and thematic ghost of the mother is very much haunting the house and the kids and the family. And also, you know, I, you just see a powder keg here because of the religious aspect. And this girl was rescued from a cult and is still clearly not over it because she’s taking medication.

And the kids are praying at the dinner table, quite devoutly, and she’s just kind of looking at them and you do wonder what an effect this has on her to be with these religious kids, surrounded by this religious iconography when she just escaped a cult herself, you know, not too long ago anyway. And it’s still.

Dealing with it, grappling with a coming to terms. And I thought, you know, as nice as she’s trying to be to everyone, this is going to be an issue at some point. Um, and it’s just digging into her and you see it because there’s a, you know, there’s a point when she’s unpacking everything. And like we said, we see the presence and stuff go into a drawer.

She hides them under some things. She puts her pills away at, but after she takes couple and to okay, she’s on medication. And then there’s a picture of the mom and the dad still there on the nightstand that she just picks up looks at for a moment and puts it away too. But this picture of Mary really bothers her because it is just sort of looming presence over the dinner table and she seated.

To the point where at some point in the movie she’s eating by herself, she turns around it to put her back to it. Eventually just takes it off the wall as well. This is a great movie for show me, don’t tell me, you know, like there’s just so much going on with these little moments and these little things that happen in this house that just speak volumes to the characters and their mental state and what they’re trying to process and what they’re trying to achieve.

Craig: Um, right. Well, and like you said, the mother is not. Literally haunting them, but I mean, just coincidentally things, like you said, she took down the painting. Well, at some point later there’s a tense moment and the painting that she had propped up against a cabinet or something, tips over and makes a loud noise and like draws attention to itself.

And so it does lead you to question whether or not there’s something supernatural going on. And we haven’t even really gotten to the part where you’re like, whoa, what’s happening. We’re we’re almost there. So there were parts when I did question, if there was something out of the realm of. Normalcy going on, you know, it’s a movie, so whatever can happen, but even little parts like that, like just the painting tipping over and drawing attention to itself in a tense moment door 

Todd: kind of opens on its own.

Yeah. 

Craig: Little things, little things that are easily explained rash. And they are in the movie. They’re easily rationally explained, but it keeps you on your toes. And I liked that the dad stays for a little while. They have some moments, they go ice skating. The little girl accidentally like drops her doll, the mom doll into a fishing hole, and grace tries to get it out for her and ends up falling through the ice.

They get her out, it’s shot amazingly well, it’s very tense and, and frightening. Um, but they do get her out and then the dad’s going to leave before he leaves. He’s actually a little bit hesitant. Like he tells her, you know, I don’t know, things are still a little tense. Maybe I should stay. And she’s like, it’s a couple of days.

It’ll be fine. Um, but just to be safe, I guess he, he shows her that there is. Uh, and, uh, he shows her the gun safe. And the combination for the gun safe is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, my God people, why even have a gun safe, like just leave it out on the table. If you’re going to put it in a gun safe combination, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Um, and, and he takes her out to like, show her how to shoot it, but she clearly knows her way around a gun. Well, this is not an issue. And then he leaves. And then this is when I thought things started getting really interesting and real, because as soon as the dad is gone, the kids completely shut her out.

They won’t speak to her. They lock themselves in her room or in their room eventually, which I thought was very realistic. The daughter who is younger, gives in a little bit and starts communicating. And they, you know, they talk about the little girl wants a dog for Christmas and grace has a dog. She’s brought her dog with her there, which I thought was hilarious because she has this little dog and she brings it to the lodge.

And the dad says, I set up a little dog bed for the dog and she’s like, oh, okay. So she goes and she puts the dog in the dog bed and then it never leaves that bad. 

Todd: I feel like they did a really good job of getting around the necessity of shooting with a dog by just like, they’ll just be sitting in the dog bed.

It’s it’s all it’s bed all day long. 

Craig: Oh, whole areas. Um, at there there’s some point. I had completely forgotten about it. I’m just looking through my notes. But when Mia, the daughter is talking to grace, we see the grace has a cross shaped scar on her Palm. Did you notice that? Do you know what that’s about?

I feel like it didn’t come up 

Todd: again. I felt like it was a cult thing or, or was it burned in there? Maybe in retrospect, I think it might’ve been burned in there, like kind of, uh, but yeah, 

Craig: yeah, that is, that would make sense later. Um, but Mia shows grace a video that they made for their dad for Christmas, which is just absolutely jam packed full of their mother.

Um, and so grace gets up and walks away and Aiden is not talking to her at all. Like he won’t even respond when she talks to him. Um, but she takes a shower and when she gets out, the mirror is steamed up, but there’s like a heart with. Like written in it, in the seam. And she looks, and Aiden has been watching her and she goes into their room and he’s pretending to be asleep, but she finds basically a shrine to their mother, which again, that’s fine.

They’re kids, they miss their mom, whatever. Then this is right after we see that shrine. There is a really loud discordant sound cue, uh, that, that scared the shock to me. And I know what’s happening and we see grace back lit and all of a sudden she seen the children in their beds, but they’re covered up like the bodies were in her cult, I guess.

For some reason takes grace takes the mom doll, but then she pretends like, she doesn’t know why it’s missing, but I don’t know if she felt guilty about taking it or what. So she just hit it somewhere else and helps the daughter find it. It’s, it’s really weird. But eventually, eventually grace confronts Aiden and she’s like, talk to me.

And he said, I don’t want to talk to you. And she says, oh, well, you don’t want to talk to me. He’s want to look at me in the shower. 

Todd: That’s right. 

Craig: And that’s kind of a, a turning point where then it seems like maybe he’s going to give her a chance. 

Todd: Has this happened before or after? Cause cause while the kids were kind of locking themselves up and not doing anything with her, she was decorating the house for Christmas.

And she has that. I think what you were talking about, the loud discordant noise and some of some of that that goes on is actually a dream that she has, that she wakes up from because her father kind of comes into it at one point, she’s having these bad dreams about her father. And when she gets up, she finds out that everything is gone.

Like her clothes, 

Craig: hold on. Not, not quite yet, but that’s what, that’s why I was saying, because it kind of seems like he’s going to give her a chance. And so they have dinner and then they’re watching movies together. Like they’re watching the thing. And then when it gets too scary, they turn it off and watch like the Michael Keaton, Jack Frost, Christmas movie.

But Mia is really cold while they’re watching movies. So Aiden goes and gets a gas heater and sets it up and. Grey says, is it safe to have that in here? And honestly, I, I couldn’t even remember, you know, I’ve used those kinds of heaters before, but I can’t remember if it was just outdoors or if they are safe for, oh, 

Todd: I used to use a, we used to use a kerosene heater in Japan quite a bit.

I mean, it’s actually still to this day, ridiculously common in Japan for families to have kerosene heaters, even in modern apartments. They’re just not that well-insulated and it’s just something they do. And 

Craig: a, and I mean, they, they are potentially dangerous because it is an open flame. And should the flame go out?

It’s going to still be continuing to pump out gas, so, well, yes 

Todd: and no. Yeah, yeah, for sure. That’s true. But even burning them in there, you’re eventually filling your house up with carbon monoxide. And so after about three hours, you have to vent it all out. Which is a S eternal source of frustration for us in our, our little Japanese apartment, because you just get the house warm and you’re enjoying the house for three hours.

And then, well, you got to open all the windows and, and vent the place. So the cold air brushes back in again, you know, that’s a big issue, especially if you just leave it on and it doesn’t have like an automatic shutoff or anything like that. Right. I 

Craig: see. And that’s the thing, like she asks if it’s safe and the kid says, oh yeah, it’s safe.

We use it all the time or whatever. Well, then they fall asleep and then that’s getting to where you are. They wake up, sh wait, doesn’t she wake up outside? Or was that a dream? 

Todd: Um, I think that was a dream. It 

Craig: was a dream. She wakes up outside. She sees the doll under the eyes, the ice breaks she falls through.

And I think. It’s the cult leader that like grabs her and pulls her down. But I couldn’t really tell if it was her or if it was Richard, it doesn’t really matter because it’s a dream by the way, offhandedly the, a cult leader in all of these weird, you know, scenes is played by Riley Chios father, um, very small role, but interesting connection there, she then does, she does then wake up inside.

And this is where all of a sudden, I didn’t know what kind of movie it was anymore because she wakes up inside and it takes these things are even though you see everything that’s happening, everything just didn’t register with me right away. The first thing that she realizes that it’s really cold, she tries to turn on the lights.

The power is dead. The her phone is dead because it hasn’t been charging. She tries to get water. The pipes are frozen, the gas heater is missing. And then even though. The camera has been showing us all of this. I didn’t realize until she did that, everything is missing. Christmas decorations are gone, the refrigerator is empty.

All of their clothes are gone. Everything’s gone including the dog, except for them. And their phones, which don’t work. 

Todd: Yeah. And, but this is kind of set up, like, like the thing that you had said earlier about the dog going missing and you, you didn’t quite know what to make of that. Um, while she was sleeping, I think what happened while she was sleeping, um, the kids had rounded up her things and put them in her suitcase, including the doll.

So she was just as puzzled as anybody to see that the doll was in her suitcase. But then when, um, uh, Riley’s a girl. No, what’s the girl’s name? The little girl Mia. Then when Mia is like, oh my God, I can’t find my doll. She didn’t want to admit right away, like, oh, like your doll mysteriously was, you know, packed up with my things.

Uh, she, she kind of pretended like, oh, I found it by the dog for you. But I think the implication here was the setup was supposed to be that she was sleepwalking and doing things in her sleep. And that, that was something that she was. Well, yeah, th that she had been doing in her sleep was that she had packed all that stuff up.

Didn’t realize it in the morning and it was kind of covering for it again. So when everything’s missing in the house, there’s one thing where you’re going, okay, well maybe this is some weird supernatural thing, but I think it’s eight and actually says, well, you w you walk all over the place, you know, at night, like 

Craig: you sleep walk.

She thinks that they are messing with her and she’s angry, and she’s demanding that they tell. Her where everything is, but they swear that they have nothing to do with it. And they say it was probably you. We hear you walking all around the house all night. And so here again, you wonder, is it her? It could be her.

Yeah. Is there, is there somebody else walking around in the house at night and they just think it’s hurt? Like there are all of these questions, but now they’re in the middle of a big storm. The generator won’t work. The next important thing that happens, which really threw me was their eat. They eat like all the food’s gone, but it seems like just maybe a few perishable thing or non-perishable things have been left behind.

So like they have some beans and some crackers and so they eat dinner and then the daughter Mia gets up to do something. And as soon as she walks away from the table, Aiden says to grace, I had a really weird dream, like last night, a nightmare. I dreamed that we all fell asleep and the gas heater started smoking.

And we suffocated. And from that point, I believe that’s what happened. I totally believed 

Todd: that’s what happened. Yeah. Like they’re stuck in like a purgatory. Right. Right. 

Craig: Um, and like the date on the clock says that it’s January 9th. And even though grace changes it back to December 22nd, when she looks at it again later, it’s gone back to January 9th, grace.

Here’s like, she’s just walking. And she hears me in her room talking. And it sounds like she’s all I heard her say was, I love you. I miss you. And then grace bursts in and demands that Mia give her the phone. And she says, I was just pretending I’m and she gives her the phone and, and grace can’t turn it on.

Cause it’s dead. Yeah. Cause it’s dead. Right. And then weird stuff starts happening. But you don’t know if it’s real or if it’s because she doesn’t have her medicine, like that’s the thing that she’s most concerned about. Like, I think at one point she even says, just give me my pills. You know, like everything else, whatever I need.

My pills. And so she starts seeing weird things. She washes herself with water, heated by the fire and the steam and the mirror, um, has repent written in it. She’s hearing voices that say repent your sins. I think it’s supposed to be the voice of the cult leader 

Todd: tries to walk to town, right? This 

Craig: is she right.

She tries. And she comes across some weird house that it looks like you see the cult leader, state that the house is shaped like a cross. Um, and it looks like you see the cult leader, like standing in it, but nobody answers. And she ends up just circling back to the house. At this point, after that Trek, she’s kind of.

Out of it. Um, and she won’t even come in and at some point the kids see her walking back towards the house, carrying her dog. 

Todd: And just before, before this though, just before this, when she does come back to the, to the. After seeing that weird cross shaped cabin out there, she sees something in the snow, some flowers by the foot of the, of the porch and she buries it and then digs even deeper and sees that there is a frame, it’s a picture frame.

It has the two kids in it. And it’s like in 

Craig: memoriam with like a black, like a black ribbon, 

Todd: and then like straight out, she comes inside and sees that they are praying intently by the fire. And there’s a piece of paper, some something printout, I guess, on the table. And she picks it up and the printout has like a newspaper article talking about all three of their deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning on December 22nd.

This point 

Craig: I was like, what? I believed that they were dead, but I was like, where did this come from? And like, The flowers and the picture buried in the snow. I was like, that makes sense. You know, if, if they died, somebody came, you know, in the interim and left this and it got covered up by snow and she’s finding it.

That makes sense. The printed out obituary that the kids found I’m like, where did that come from? What is happening 

Todd: was weird. Uh, and they, and they’re, they’re, they’re there, they’re praying intently and, and they yell. They’re like, we’re in purgatory, we’re dead. We’re dead. And blah, blah, blah. 

Craig: Yeah. She says, Aiden says, we must repent.

So you can go to 

Todd: heaven. He kind of 

Craig: disappears. Well, he says something like, I’ll prove it to you or something like that. Maybe I don’t know, they run off. And then the little girl screams her name and says, come here, come here. And she runs and she looks up this stairwell to the attic and he’s there hanging.

Apparently dead, but he isn’t dead. He lifts up his head and says, see, we can’t die because we’re already dead. We’re in purgatory. We have to repent our sins so we can go to heaven. And then she, from this point is just entirely tormented. She hears her dad’s voice telling her, just confess God is waiting.

And we see her walking on her knees and a circle in the snow, on the lake and praying. Um, and that’s when she brings the dead dog. And I think that this was a breaking point because, um, Mia is devastated by this dead dog. And she says, it’s my fault. It’s my fault. I left the door open. He must have frozen to death and then they can’t get her to come in.

And then the big twist is revealed. They were just fucking with her. And that’s why I brought up. Thing about the dollhouse in the beginning, they had this whole thing planned out from the beginning. They were staging it in the doll house before they even left. It was a messed up. So 

Todd: the movie is so good at flipping your sympathies around with the kids in a way, like you understand you sympathize with them.

When this comes out, that they have been messing with her this whole time and they go to the basement and they uncover a panel where they pull out all the crap that they collected from the house, including her medication, including her fricking coat. You know, the woman was outside in the snow without any coat on.

They come out and they put the coat around her and they admit, but she is too far gone at this point. They have driven her to the point of no return. And it’s their fault. 

Craig: Yeah, no, well, that’s the thing, like it’s hard to blame them. Like they are. Bereaved and they are angry. And I think, you know, they’re kids so justifiably.

So, but man, they really committed to this 

Todd: and pushed it as far as it could go. And it took a dead dog. They didn’t care about her and her emotional state and her mental state, her fricking medication, like. They don’t know what her medication is for, you know, who knows? 

Craig: Well, I’m, I’m, I’m willing to give, I’m willing to give them a pass on that too, because I don’t think that kids understand the importance and significance of medications.

So they may not have understood the gravity of it, but, but still she’s 

Todd: begging for her pills. Come on. I’m in. Also like you could give them a pass on everything because they’re kids, you know, I mean, look right, played some stupid pranks. When we were kids, we did some pretty heartless things because we didn’t know any better.

We thought something was funny or we didn’t know how it would affect somebody else. I feel like everybody’s got a story or two about something they regretted from their youth that they’re just appalled by, you know, hell, I’ve got stories from my twenties, you know? So, I mean, you could give them a pass on all this stuff, except the lengths at which they took it.

And the mental breakdown that she was obviously having, you do start to feel. They kind of get what’s coming to them to a certain extent. 

Craig: See, and I didn’t know, I didn’t know what was going to happen at this point. Um, but she, you know, like you said, I mean, she’s mentally gone. Like she’s, she’s physically harmed, you know, she’s been out in the.

Cold her face is frostbitten. Um, and she starts doing, before I go there, I was also just kind of blown away the extent to which they were able to carry this because the filmmakers did a good job addressing unanswered questions. Like why wouldn’t the dad have come back if he had been unable to contact his girlfriend for several days?

Like, wouldn’t that be a red flag? Well, as it turns out, their phones were working and they were communicating with the dad. So I’m sure they were telling the dad everything was fine. And so he wasn’t worried about it crazy or keeping 

Todd: up a ruse the whole time. Very elaborate. 

Craig: I know. It’s insane. Oh, and the other thing, like you said, you know, you can just find anything cause they’re kids, that’s fine.

I agree with you. But we’ve also watched movies. Like we did a Christmas movie one time. I don’t remember which one it was, but where this kid totally manipulates his babysitter and then ends up killing pretty much everybody. Like that kid was a sociopath. I don’t think these kids are sociopath’s. It’s true.

They’re making terrible 

Todd: decisions, 

Craig: a series of terrible decisions. But at this point, I mean, it’s. You know, she is gone. Grace, come on, let’s go inside.

It’s too cold. It’s too cold. I’m inside.

We’re just pretending.

I

actually didn’t hang myself. None of it was real. Can we, can we just go inside these

okay. Like she is, I’m kneeling on burning embers to repent her sins. And at this point, the kids are just hiding from her in the attic and the dad does eventually come. 

Todd: He sees their dollhouse. This is where we kind of see that everything was staged. You know, in retrospect, the filmmakers were teasing us with this the whole time we were seeing all those random shots of the doll house that at some point came into fruition.

Even the kid hanging, we had seen a doll in there. You’re just like, what’s that? You don’t know if this is some artsy thing or whatever they’re trying to do. No, they were literally showing us the doll house. The dad sees it and you know, he can’t get ahold of them anymore. So he gets in his car and drives that way.

And then he shows up, oh God, um, you want to just go through this bed? Yeah. 

Craig: I mean, it’s, it’s, I didn’t know. You know, he put there, there’s a very tense scene where there they’ve been hiding in the attic, but Mia has to go to the bathroom and, and against her brother’s advice, she goes down, she sneaks downstairs and she goes to the bathroom and she comes out and grace comes out of the shadows right behind her and follows her up the stairs.

And she has a gun and I didn’t know, well, the gun we knew. Was there. And I didn’t know what was going to happen. That cuts away from that shot of them. Huddling, the kids huddling together, kind of in a corner and her standing in front of them with the gun. And then the, the next shot is the dad’s car pulling up.

And I had no idea what he was going to be walking into. I 

Todd: thought we were going to hear a gunshot. Maybe 

Craig: I did too. I thought we were going to hear a gunshot as he approached the house, but we don’t. He walks in and he kind of notices some things are off, but it’s when he sees the dog dead in its dog bed that he’s clearly concerned.

And he ends up walking up to the actual. Where they are all still there safe, but she still believes that they are dead and in purgatory and need repentance. And she’s telling him this and he’s trying to talk her off the ledge. Um, but she says, look, no, we’re dead. We can’t die. We’re in purgatory. I’ll show you.

And she puts the gun to her head and he’s calmly pleading with her not to do anything. She pulls the trigger, but there’s just a click, like, I guess there just wasn’t a bullet in that chamber, but then. Yeah. I feel like she’s feels like she still needs to prove it to the dad. So she points the gun at him and cocks it and he’s pleading with her to just give her the gun.

Everything’s going to give him the gun everything’s going to be okay. And he reaches for it very gingerly and she pulls the trigger and shoots him in the head. 

Todd: Yeah, right there in front of his kids, right in 

Craig: front of his kids. And they all run, they all, the, the two kids run down and are weeping over their father’s 

Todd: body and said, I felt so terrible.

Craig: It’s horrible. It’s horrible. And I just felt so bad for everybody. I mean, I, I especially felt bad for the little girl because she’s so young and I’m sure she had no idea what consequences might come of this. I had a little bit less sympathy for the son, but ultimately I felt bad for him too. I’m sure that he never expected it to go this far.

I mean, it was cruel. I think he knew it was cruel. That was intentional, but I don’t think anybody ever thought that it would go this far. And then the kids are smart, I guess, and run away. They run to the car and you hear them start the car, but it’s, you know, seconds after you hear them start the car, you hear it crash.

And I knew it would because these roads are treacherous. I mean, they would be difficult for an adult who knows how to drive to navigate grace. Very calmly walks outside and starts walking to the car. It’s a long shot from above them. Again, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I thought she might shoot them right there through the windshield, but she doesn’t, and it, it just shows her approaching the car and then it cuts away.

And the next thing we see is an aerial shot of the landing where the father had. Shot and you just see a trail of blood. His body is gone, and then it cuts to the dinner table where she has seated the father at the head of the table. And she is sitting on one side and the two children are sitting on the other side and the girl is crying.

The son is on the verge of tears and grace is praying. And then she starts singing a song, which is a very familiar song that I can’t think of now, but it was like nearer my God to the, or something 

Todd: like that. 

Craig: She’s singing it. And of course the lyrics are about wanting to be closer to God and wanting to be with God.

And I will be with God soon. And I just thought it was. Strange, but it didn’t pull me out of reality that the children through their tears start singing with her and the brother at some point looks at the sister and says, it’s it’s okay. It’s going to be okay. And they’re singing. The camera is just on the kids.

And we see grace coming around behind them and she puts duct tape with sin on it, over their mouths. And she has it over her mouth cut to black, the end. 

Todd: Uh,

Craig: it’s, it’s so bleak. Like it’s one of the bleakest the movies I’ve seen. And yet I thought it was a really, really good movie. It’s hard to recommend because it is so 

Todd: bleak. I’ll never watch it again. 

Craig: No. Oh, absolutely not. But inter same thing with good night, mommy. I would never watch that movie again either, but it’s an, just an expertly made.

Film. So interesting. 

Todd: Keeps you guessing the entire time I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was completely enthralled, it was just beautifully shot. And yet he was so uncomfortable. For most of it, hats off to the filmmakers for really ringing every last little bit of emotion out of these performances.

Craig: It’s going to say hats off to the actors because you know, the whole movie pretty much lies on the shoulders of this one woman. Who’s a young woman, um, and these two children and they do such an amazing job. Their performances are compelling. Apparently 

Todd: they made the right decision and they decided to shoot the film in sequence so that they could make sure to get this right.

You know, so that it, the, the, yeah, the, the, the relationship with them and how it unfolds and also the timing and, you know, how does her breakdown kind of develop? That would be a tricky thing to get, right? Otherwise it gets kind of unbelievable or corny and it goes really, really well. I think you’re right.

The turning point was that doll, because she had said something earlier on about how that. It was like her salvation through her most difficult time of her recovery after this horrible incident. And so the death of her dog was sort of the catalyst for just, just that last little straw that put her over the edge, you know?

Right. Yeah. Oh God, just so amazing. So good bothered the hell out of me. It’s going to bother me for days, because like you said earlier, we said it earlier, this kind of thing could happen. And does these, you know, variations of this. People make, what I’m saying is just young people don’t know any better or just people who don’t know any better, make stupid decisions, do unnecessary things that end up turning out very, very badly, more tragic than they could ever be.

So, I mean, it’s a horror movie for sure. Psychological horror movie. It’s a tragedy. 

Craig: It is. It is. It’s like a Greek tragedy 

Todd: is where nobody wins. 

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. But, uh, thank you. W we said it was Simon Wright who, uh, requested this. Thank you. This was an excellent request. Uh, we may or may not have gotten around to doing it anyway, but thank you for bringing it to our attention.

And like I said, it’s a difficult movie to recommend, but if you are, if you’re emotionally prepared, it is an excellent movie. And these filmmakers, you know, if, if they do something else. I’ll make sure I’m in a reasonable state of mind, but I’ll watch it because they are very. Very talented. So, uh, I guess that’s, that’s, that’s my take on, like, if you’re emotionally fragile, please do not watch this movie because it might mess you up.

Like, I don’t consider myself at least at this very moment in my life. I don’t consider myself particularly emotionally fragile, but it, like you said, it messed me up for a while. Like it’s stuck with me for the whole rest of the day and it was tough, you know, I’ve slept on it now and I feel 

Todd: better. I’m kind of glad we’re done talking about it.

So I don’t have to think about it and contemplated. All right. We’ll do some goofy, goofy, stupid Santa Claus ax murderer movie 

Craig: next week. It’s like a plan. Sounds like a plan. Oh yeah. Mary. Yeah.

Todd: All right. Well, happy holidays to everybody. And thank you so much again, Simon for requesting this movie. If you have a request, please send it to us online. You can just Google us to guys on chainsaw podcast. Find our Twitter, feed our Facebook page, our website, and leave us a message. Any one of those places, let us know what you thought of this movie and what other films you’d like us to see in the future.

Please share this podcast with a friend until next 

Craig: time. I’m Todd and I’m great 

Todd: with two guys and a chainsaw.


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