This sophisticated mystery horror about the nightmares of a religious mind is the American debut of the Austrian duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala who became well known five years ago with the release of the shocking thriller Goodnight, Mommy. World premiered at the 2019 Sundance Festival, The Lodge’s Russian premiere at Garage Screen will be preceded by Z (2016), a short horror picture by Vasiliy Sigarev.
Once she marries journalist Richard, Grace, who is still a very young woman, will become step-mother to Mia and Aidan, two children still grieving for their mother. This idea doesn’t make the kids happy at all. Unlike their father, they haven’t forgotten their mother, who took her own life following the divorce. Further complicating things, Grace is the daughter of a religious fanatic with a dark past, and both children believe their father traded their mother for a psychopath. Aiming to help Mia and Aidan get to know Grace better, Richard sends the three of them to spend a few days before Christmas together in a remote cabin in the snowy mountains, away from civilization.
The directorial duo of Veronika Franz (the wife of Ulrich Seidl) and Severin Fiala became acclaimed in 2014 for their uncompromising debut Goodnight, Mommy which effectively and highly originally contaminates two horror film traditions, the European and the US ones. The Lodge, their new joint work, is a meticulously aesthetic and atmospheric thriller that continues to extend and rejuvenate the classic genre. A cinematic masterpiece shot by the Greek Thimios Bakatakis, renowned for his work with Yorgos Lanthimos, the leading role in The Lodge is performed by the young star Riley Keough, who seems to have featured in all the recent films with a cult status, from Mad Max: Fury Road to American Honey and The House that Jack Built.
Directors Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
USA, UK, 2019. 100 min. 18+
Russian pop star Nikolay Baskov sings sweet hits at a corporate party—until a zombie wearing a worker’s overall sinks its teeth into his neck. As the country is convulsed with fear of an apocalypse, the next victims might be young mom Lera and her children who are spending time in a country house outside of Moscow. This zombie apocalypse is both spooky and funny.
Russia’s representative at the Wild nights festival is a short horror film by writer and director Vasiliy Sigarev who, regardless of the genre, always addresses the Russian everyday, which is complicated, ambiguous, oftentimes absurd, and simultaneously permeated with pain and joy, fury and pleasure, laughter and fear. Although the online premiere of Z took place two years ago, this retrospective screening is hugely important for the festival, as it is arguably the best horror picture ever made in Russia, which has never been shown on the big screen.
Director Vasiliy Sigarev
Russia, 2017 17 min. 16+