Tales From The Lodge Review

Tales From The Lodge
A group of fortysomething old university friends gather at a remote lakeside country cottage to spread the ashes of their dead pal Jonesy. They share spooky stories, bicker, and are hit by shocking revelations — one of which may well cost them all their lives.

by Dan Jolin |
Published on
Release Date:

01 Nov 2019

Original Title:

Tales From The Lodge

It is a brave soul who, for their debut movie, reunites the stars of 2004’s Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, still justifiably derided as one of the worst films ever made. But writer/director Abigail Blackmore clearly wasn’t worried about bringing Mackenzie Crook and Johnny Vegas back together for her kinda-portmanteau horror comedy, in which the pair join a group of life-battered Gen Xers with a penchant for telling twisted tales. The good news is, Tales From The Lodge isn’t as bad as Sex Lives Of The Potato Men. The bad news is, it’s not that good.

The stories intrude upon the main narrative, sapping it of tension and momentum.

The film’s gimmick — quite a cute one — is that Blackmore (herself an actor) allows each of the character’s stories to be directed by the actor narrating it. So Crook executes a Lynchian nightmare scenario in a caged hospital bed, and Vegas gives us a zombie apocalypse yarn in which he wears a Kiefer Sutherland Lost Boys mullet wig, while among the other tales co-star Laura Fraser oversees a domestic sexcom spin on the possession horror.

The problem is, none of it snaps together. The stories intrude upon the main narrative, their badly timed insertion sapping it of tension and momentum, while doing little for character development, which barely scrapes the surface of the film’s midlife-crisis promise. They do, at least, offer a visual break from the “Lodge” of the title — a depressingly drab, drizzle-sprayed holiday cottage — its tonal lurches, its flat (and in one case flatulent) jokes and its confounding lapses of logic. Not least the huge one near the end, which is supposed to pass for a final twist, but only serves to render the ‘real-world’ plot less believable than the scrappy little shorts that punctuate it.

Less Tales Of The Unexpected, more Tales Of The Unconvincing, this uneven comedy horror fails to handle its ambitious structure, or deliver on its promising premise.
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