“Girl child, boy child, listen well. Be in bed by midnight’s bell. Never let a stranger through your door. Never leave each other all alone. Good sister, good brother be, follow well these cautions three. Long as your blood be ours alone, we’ll see you ever from below.”
The Lodgers is a 2017 Irish gothic horror film written by David Turpin and directed by Brian O’Malley.
The Lodgers is set in 1920, rural Ireland. Our main characters are a set of twins, Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner), who share an isolated existence in their crumbling family estate. Each night-time, the property becomes the domain of a sinister watery presence (“the lodgers”) which enforce three rules upon the twins. They must be in bed by midnight; they may not permit an outsider past the threshold; if one attempts to escape, the life of the other is placed in jeopardy. They are reminded of these rules by way of a nursery rhyme. It’s clear the family is held under some kind of curse.
When Rachel and Edward’s eighteenth birthday comes, Rachel wishes to leave with Edward. In doing so she’ll hopefully leave the family curse behind. Edward, due to the trauma of his parents’ death and the legacy they left him and his sister, has become a recluse and refuses to leave.
Tensions rise when troubled war veteran Sean (Eugene Simon) returns to the nearby village. He is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel, who in turn sees in Sean a chance for freedom and so begins to break the rules set out by the lodgers.
What will happen to Rachel when all is revealed and she tries to free herself from the curses’ grip?
The Lodgers is a Gothic, Irish ghost story with an intriguing and sinister twist. The story and twist is great if very ambiguous, as it lacks any real explanation for why any of it is actually happening. The acting is decent and the imagery and effects are stunning, the Gothic setting really makes the back drop of the whole film. Despite the intrigue, The Lodgers unfortunately doesn’t deliver on scares, although there is some disturbing or creepy imagery, there was nothing that frightened me to the core. At the end of the film, I was left with many answers and although I feel exploring the curses’ past could have improved the story, I’m not sure how it could even be done well.
Over all, The Lodgers is a dreary, Gothic ghost story that is well shot, well-acted and delivers on its story.