The Lodge Film Investigated and Explained

The Lodge Film Investigated and Explained - A mind frack to end all mind fracks with a massive twist to end all twists at the end. Gotta talk this through!
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Within the first 10 minutes, I was so mortally shocked, so shook was I, that I knew I was in for a serious unhinging with this film, The Lodge. I was actually a bit concerned about continuing on. But, you are welcome, intrepid reader, I pressed on into the fray, for you. I know, I know, hold your applause, I did it for my love for you, my readers! Cough. OK, so let’s see if we can walk through the details of what occurred over the course of this film…and then we will talk about it. First the what, then the why, the how, the ‘what the hell?!?’. Got it? Great. Let’s get into it – The Lodge Film Investigated and Explained.

The Lodge in Detail

Here on out be spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the film – do us both a favor and move along. THANKS!

So the movie starts with Richard (played by Richard Armitage) telling his wife, Laura (played by Alicia Silverstone), that he wants a divorce. They’ve been separated for some time, and he’d like to marry Grace. (Come on, GRACE??! Sorry, getting ahead of myself). Anyway, Grace is played by Riley Keough, Elvis Presley’s eldest granddaughter whom you know from Mad Max: Fury Road, and It Comes at Night. Laura, it should be said, doesn’t take the news well. In fact, she takes it so poorly, she heads home and commits suicide by blowing her brains all over her dining room wall. This was such a shocking moment to me that my family came over and asked if I was okay. They told me that I literally jumped out of my chair. I naturally had assumed Alicia was the tent-pole of this film… like, alive. So, her quickly putting a gun in her mouth and blowing her brains out was extraordinarily disconcerting.

Now, a moment about Richard’s new paramour. Grace, it appears, was the only survivor of her father’s cult, all of whom committed suicide but herself. Richard, an investigative reporter, began researching the Kool-Aid drinking episode, and ended up meeting Grace. Voila. Richard and Grace had had plans to marry, but suicides sort of crimp marriage plans. And the children, Aidan (Jaeden Martell of Midnight Special and Knives Out brilliance) and Mia (Lia McHugh), don’t even want to meet this Grace, let alone head off into the woods with this woman over Christmas break. But regardless, a few days before Christmas, the foursome head out to the lodge. The kids, yeah – they are not a fan of Grace. And Grace? She’s not a fan of the copious Catholic talismans spread throughout the lodge. It causes her to have nightmares of her father and the chaos of her past.

After Richard leaves for a work thing (come on, one of the most implausible script manipulations ever) everything goes to hell in a handbasket. (Why is it that handbaskets are always responsible for delivering us all to hell?) The kids openly disdain Grace. Even openly ignoring her.

After one particularly galling evening – Grace wakes to find much of her things are completely gone. Including her head meds. Oh, and her dog too. So, hooray. Did I mention the food is gone, too? All of it. The generator is also out. Which means cell phones are about as useful as bricks. And the best of the best is that the Grinch also came and stole the Christmas decorations as well. Now, Grace, of course, she assumes that the kids are playing her. But when she finds all their stuff missing too she begins to think something else might be going on here. And when Aidan tells Grace that he had a nightmare that they had in fact all suffocated the night before due to a gas heater malfunction, we get our first working theory about what might be happening here. Are they all dead?


Things don’t improve over the next couple days. Grace is suffering from missing her medication doses. They are all hurting from hunger and cold. But eventually Grace heads out to try and walk to the nearest town. (Which, we all knew, yeah – we knew, this wasn’t going to go well.) But happily! She runs across her father! Phew. Oh, wait, he’s dead from a cultist ritual suicide. Totally forgot that bit. And eventually, even though she hasn’t turned around, she arrives back at the lodge. Yeah, she’s just walked in a circle. (Which, in films, can only mean one thing. But, we’ll wait on that detail til later.) When Grace finally gets back inside, she finds the two children praying. WHY WOULD THEY BE PRAYING? Huh. Well, apparently, they’ve found a newspaper article telling of the threesome’s death of carbon monoxide poisoning back on the 22nd of December. Huh? So yeah – Aidan is CERTAIN they are in purgatory. Which, isn’t a terrible leap of logic. And when Aidan hangs himself in the attic, even though he survives, he uses this as certifiable proof that they are all dead. It only gets worse for Grace when she finds her dog frozen to death outside in the cold. Man. This is some seriously next level depressing.

Oh! But here comes the juke!

The kids admit that they’ve been drugging her all along! Oh, PHEW! They’ve hidden her stuff. And they’ve been pumping her dad’s sermons into her bedroom at night. Yeah? So now we can return back to reality. That’s good. But wait, that’s some next level evil. And now, with the kids unable to get the generator started again, Grace isn’t convinced at all. Worse, Grace is CERTAIN they are all in hell. So much so, that that night, Grace is found burning herself over by the hearth. The kids are now legitimately freaked out, and they hide in the attic. But in the morning, Grace tells them that they must sacrifice something for God. Richard though returns!! And when he finds Grace hysterically wielding his pistol, she attempts to prove to him they are dead by shooting him. Which, kills him. Obviously.

It all ends with Grace bringing the fleeing children and their dead father, back to the dinner table, to sing a rousing rendition of “Nearer My God to Thee.” After which, she duct tapes their mouths shut, with the word SIN written over their mouths.


I love studying how films talk about other religions. Generally speaking, here in the West anyway, Christianity is the whipping boy for all manner of horribleness. And you know what? It’s not unwarranted. But here again, we watch as Catholicism, specifically, is taken to the woodshed over and over again. And the ideas of devoutness are flipped into looking evil. But why?

When the movie opens we learn that Grace’s father, apparently a leader of a “Christian Cult,” convinces his congregation to kill themselves ritualistically. Grace is the only survivor. Which, puts her in a particularly fragile state. Understandably. And although she seems to be adjusting relatively well considering – enter these two little kids, who are determined to get their revenge for their mother’s suicide.

The Theology of Suicide

But there were a few red flags that shot into the air for me – a fairly ardent Christ follower. The first, was during Laura’s funeral. The Priest says something like, “Pray she passes over to where she needs to go.” What this Priest is referring to is the Catholic belief that suicide prevents the dead from going to heaven. Why? Well, it’s actually caused by another Catholic theological misunderstanding of Grace. (If you are Catholic, I would LOVE to talk with you at more length about this theological glitch.) They believe that the only way to be forgiven of one’s sins is through confession. SO, if you pull the trigger, sending a bullet through your brain, you won’t have time to get to confession and tell a priest of your sin of suicide. Just not possible. So, you will have died with sin on your conscience. Hrm.

But think about this for 2 seconds. You and I are Catholics. We are going about our day. I don’t know. Going for a walk. And out of nowhere, a 95-year-old lady, driving way too fast, jumps the curb and cleans both our clocks. Boom. Just like that. Now, here’s the question du jour. When was your last time to confession? Better yet, did you sin anytime between your clock cleaning and then? Of course you did. I know, because I was with you, and I heard you pridefully exclaiming about how amazing your new car looks in the sun. And worse, you also white-lied a bit when you told me that you tried to do that thing I asked you to do, when you obviously didn’t.

Here’s the point. The core tenet of Christianity is grace. (Grace! We’ll get back to her in just a moment.) And what is the definition of this grace? Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Which means, we don’t deserve it. Not even a little bit. It is the forgiveness of sins – that I don’t deserve to be forgiven for. Now, let’s bring this full circle. I will give you that suicide is a sin. Fine. But so is that exaggerative white lie you told me walking at the park. Yes, I would be crushed if you committed suicide. But it’s no bigger sin that any other sin you might commit on a daily basis. The larger question for me would be, did she believe that God created her, and forgave her? Hrmm. I don’t know. But if she was a Christian before she blew her brains out – she’s still one after doing so. Convince me otherwise.

The Theology of Grace

Now, this time, by ‘theology of Grace,’ I mean, the character Grace. The person. The question for this movie that I have is simple – who is the bad guy? Every movie has a bad guy. Always. So who was the bad guy in this movie? Hrm. Well, the obvious choice would be the individual that killed her boyfriend, and murdered two children. I mean, who else would it be?

Well, my vote is with Aidan and Mia. They are the ones that took away Grace’s medicine. And also drugged her with something else entirely. They are the ones who piped her father’s sermon’s into her head. They are the ones that are manipulating her over the edge. But wait! Some will say, fine, but who pushed them over the edge? Aidan and Mia were created by their mother’s suicide, which in turn was created by Grace’s relationship with Aidan and Mia’s father. So, AHA! We’ve gone all the way round the horn back to Grace! Nope. Aidan and Mia have a choice how to respond to their mother’s death. Tragedy hits us all at some point or other. If every time someone dies we were allowed to go into a murderous rampage this world would be a death pit dumpster fire. So no. I’m saying absolutely not to that line of thinking.

Grace lived through the suicide of everyone she knew, including her father. And then was manipulated, drugged, and fairly convincingly told that she was actually in purgatory. Why wouldn’t her drug-addled brain believe them? So, she didn’t murder Richard. No court would convict her of the crime. Nope. But these two little upstarts? Yeah. They were guilty.

Which brings us to those final two shots:

The question on the table is this – did Grace kill them? Or did she…um, give them grace?

Theory 1 – Obviously she kills the two little whippersnappers. Duh! they had it coming. And their life was better off for it. Think about it! She doesn’t kill them, and they will probably be spending a large swath of their life in foster homes… no, worse, juvenile detention, and then maybe a penitentiary or two. Might as well put them down now. They will never recover from the atrocities and horrors they have committed against Grace, and against their father Richard.

Theory 2 – Of course she doesn’t kill them! Think about it. What did they do to her? They hated her, so they messed with her mind. That gaslit her so badly that she really thought she was in some lower realm of hell or something. And what is she doing to them? She’s duct taped them. She’s got the gun nearby. She is convincing them that they are going to die. Just like they convinced her that she was already dead. Nah, she’s going to sit down next to them, sing a rousing reprisal of Nearer My God to Thee…and then punch three or four bullets into the wall behind them.

Personally – I don’t know which theory I buy more. I’m probably going to go with Theory 2. But that won’t let them off the hook. They will have to not only live with the damage they have done to Grace, but also to their father, by getting him killed. I don’t know. What do you think happened after the last scene of the movie?

Want other movies like this one? What about Daniel isn’t Real, A Dark Song, and the Little Stranger.

Edited by: CY