Tales from the Lodge – UK, 2019 – reviews and DVD release news

‘Some friendships never die’

Tales from the Lodge is a 2019 British comedy horror anthology feature film written, produced and directed by Abigail Blackmore (Vintage Blood short). The Hook Pictures production stars Mackenzie Crook, Dustin Demri-Burns, Laura Fraser, Sophie Thompson and Johnnie Vegas.

Plot:

An isolated lodge somewhere in England. Five old university pals, now nudging forty, gather for a weekend to scatter the ashes of their friend, Jonesy, who drowned himself in the lake three years earlier.

The friends settle in for a fun evening, entertaining each other with stories of murders, ghosts, zombies and possessions. However, as day turns to night the gang become aware of another horror story unfolding around them. And this one is real…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

Tales from the Lodge is competently directed by Blackmore in her feature debut, and she absolutely nails the intended humor. Using the story segments to flesh out her characters is a refreshing take on the anthology format. The pacing, however, could use a little tightening up, as could the entire narrative.” Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

“As well as strong, well-written characters, Tales from the Lodge demonstrates a real love of the horror genre in the way Blackmore uses the short spooky tales to experiment with both scares, dark humour and knowing winks to her peers, but also in how the real drama, hidden in plain sight, within the wrap around reveals itself in the murderous finale.” Stuart Wright, BritFlicks

” …Tales From the Lodge is fairly entertaining, but a third-act twist spoils any goodwill Blackmore has built up to that point. That twist can only be described as wildly irresponsible at best and deeply offensive to a marginalized group at worst. The end result is a film that will undoubtedly leave many viewers with a bad taste in their mouth.” Britt Hayes, Crooked Marquee

“The group’s struggles to reconcile where they once foresaw themselves versus current stations involving loveless relationships, annoying offspring, and untimely medical diagnoses add deeper meaning to Tales from the Lodge as a surprisingly bittersweet drama.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

” …this as an all-too-believable slightly rubbish weekend getaway. But, even at 93-minutes Tales from the Lodge feels overstretched. Although Blackmore does pull it together with a climactic reveal that has rubbed some reviewers the wrong way, but we thought was preposterously good fun.” Rob Daniel, Electric Shadows

“With a capable cast who present us with fully-fledged characters despite the limited screentime available to each, this is a solid little film which delivers well within the scope of its simple ambition. Though it does indulge in a bit of splatter this is on the lighter side and there are no really scary moments…” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Blackmore’s screenplay is incisively droll, but also nostalgic in the right way. Apparently, it was an unusually successful group effort, with the six main thesps getting directing credits for their characters’ stories in the closing titles. Highly recommended for old school genre anthology movie fans…” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins

“As in the old Amicus anthologies, part of the trick is to cast inherently likeable, appealing, entertaining folks as characters who are initially just small-minded and crotchety but emerge as the plot reveals tumble out as truly horrible.  This is a rare recent horror film in which the body count may be too low since audiences are likely to take against people who don’t really get the comeuppances they deserve as the shaggy dog tale ending wags on into the final blackout.” The Kim Newman Web Site

” …any cliché on display is there merely to be knowingly ironised, in what is an amusing genre-savvy take on familiar horror tropes. Here bullshit is just the costume and makeup used to cover what these old pals have been hiding and denying for years – and when the submerged truth finally resurfaces, a painful kind of hilarity ensues.” Anton Bitel, Projected Figures

” …undeniably tongue-in-cheek, fully aware of its goofy nature from beginning to end, but it also attempts to land a few resonant character beats, particularly in a few of the relationship dynamics. And those are where the film really crashes tonally (despite solid work by the always-welcome Laura Fraser).” Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“Interestingly, according to the end credits Blackmore allowed her actors to direct their own anthology segments, which would account for the wildly varying tonal and stylistic elements, however, it was perhaps because of this that the film doesn’t quite gel. Tales from the Lodge is an amusing experience, but not quite a home run…” J Hurtado, Screen Anarchy

Release:

Tales from the Lodge had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) on March 9th 2019.

A British DVD release from Lorton Entertainment is due out on 4th November 2019.

Cast and characters:

  • Mackenzie Crook … Joe – Eat Locals; Demons TV series; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s EndPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s ChestPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Spine Chillers TV series; The Gathering
  • Dustin Demri-Burns … Paul
  • Laura Fraser … Martha
  • Sophie Thompson … Emma
  • Johnny Vegas … Russell
  • Kelly Wenham … Miki
  • Adam Straughan … Jonesy
  • Robert Portal … Doctor
  • Cavan Clerkin … Dean
  • Nicola Stephenson … Amanda
  • Tom Stourton … Zeke Holloway
  • Janet Cowl … Zombie
  • Lloyd Mullings … PC
  • Kris Taylor … Passport Controller [uncredited]

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