Sunday, December 26, 2021

Poking the Mentally Ill Polar Bear


Hey, hey, Horror Nuts!  Welcome to another edition of WTFHM!

I've often been known to say the phrase, there are horror movies that scare you, there are horror movies that creep you out, and then there are horror movies that shit on your soul. Or movies that making you feel like:

If you feel like watching the kind of movie that rips out a piece of your soul like that, there are a few go-to directors you can count on. Lars Von Trier and Ari Aster. You might remember them from such hits as Antichrist, Melancholia, Heriditary, and Midsommar.

 If you haven't seen these movies, I have to advise extreme caution if you're prone to suicidal ideation or clinical depression.  These are not happy movies.

Speaking of which...

This week's movie!

The Lodge starring Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lisa McHugh, Richard Armitage, Danny Keough, and Alicia Silverstone.

Yes. Alicia Frickin' Silverstone.  I had a moment when she appeared on screen that was like, 

For real, I had to pause the movie and look it up on IMDB to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

And before we get down to it, beyond this point be many, many spoilers:

Cuz, seriously, I don't know how to break this movie down otherwise. Don't like spoilers? Try reading the Amazon Vella  thing I'm working on instead this week.  It's not horror, but you might like it anyway.

So, aaanyway, Alicia Silverstone is a divorced mom in this one and she also has the distinguished honor of being the Janet Leigh of this movie.

After dropping her kids off at her ex's house, he tells her that it's time to make their divorce final because he means to marry someone else. She takes it pretty well.

So, now, that their mom is gone, the kids are having a rough time accepting their new stepmom. Their dad gets the bright idea to have them hang out with her in their secluded lodge for a few days.

The kids are like "Hell No" at first, but after looking her up on their dad's computer, they decide to tell their dad that they would be glad to give it a go.

Important side note; Dad's fiance, Grace, was the only survivor in a suicide cult.

So, the scene is set and the kids are off to spend a few days getting to know their future stepmom...who witnessed (and videotaped) her people after they committed suicide...and who needs to take pills to stay even.

Yeah, no good can come from this.  

And by the way, clearly their dad has a type. Both Laura (Silverstone) and Grace (Keough) are legitimately mentally ill. Like, Laura the ex is obviously dealing with depression (and later suicidal tendencies) at the beginning of this movie. Neither of these woman are okay by any stretch.

Bro...they even kind of look alike. 

So, the family is in the lodge and everything's cool at first.  Dad's up there with the fam at first and everything is going okay...except for when Grace falls through the ice trying to rescue daughter, Mia's(McHugh), doll.

And like, after that piece of trauma, Dad's like, "Hey, so, I know I gotta go for a few days, but I can stay." And Grace is all; "I'm fine. Go to work sweetie!"

Okay, so Grace has a little bit of a tough time with the kids. Aidan (Martell)'s not talking to her, Mia shows her a home video of happy times with their mom. Grace isn't hanging in too good.

So, one night while Grace and Mia are watching 1981's "The Thing" (probably the worst possible movie choice to show someone under the age of 16 in a cold isolated environment) and Mia says she's cold. Aidan brings over the gas heater to warm her up. Grace voices her concerns, but Aidan says they use it all the time it's totally safe.

So, they fall asleep and when they wake up the power is out, the pipes are frozen, the phones aren't charged, the Christmas decorations and all the food are gone and it's snowing like a beast outside.

Grace is immediately like, "Ha ha, real funny guys. Where's all the food? And, hold up, where are my pills?? Where's the damn dog???"

The kids are like,

So, Grace makes do. She boils some snow, they eat beans from a can, it's fine. Over a can of beans, Aidan tells Grace that he had a dream the gas heater was smoking and they died. 

Grace decides to go hiking to the next town for help. She never finds the town, but she finds a cross shaped house with the cult leader in the window watching her.  

Yeah, it gets worse. She makes it back to the house with a bloody nose and looking like she's been through some stuff. In the snow, she finds flowers...and a photo of the kids with a "In loving memory" frame.

She goes to Aidan, like, "WTF?" And the following exchange happens:

"Um...pretty sure we're dead."
"No, we're not."
"Yeah, we kind of are."
"Boi, we are still alive."
"Then what's up with this picture?"

So, this portion of the movie is basically little things suggesting that the kids and Grace have died and are now in purgatory...and they need to repent to get into heaven. Grace is losing her grip, but she's still holding onto reality until she finds Aidan...and he's hung himself.

But then, he looks up at her and tells her, "SEE! WE'RE IN PURGATORY BECAUSE WE CAN'T DIE!"

And folks, that is the point that Grace's brain breaks. Which only gets worse when she finds the dog, frozen solid out in the snow. Grace ends up catatonic on the porch.

And it's at this point that we start to learn an important lesson for life. Don't gaslight people.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well...

It turns out this whole thing is a set up and orchestrated by Aidan and Mia to push Grace over the edge. Now that she's sitting on the porch in a snow storm, they're like, "Uh...maybe we went too far."

Let's break this down a little. These kids clearly blame Grace for their mother's suicide, so they decide it would be a good idea to make her - the survivor of a religious suicide cult -- believe she'd died and was now in purgatory. Which in it of itself is bad enough, but THEY TAKE AWAY HER MEDS!!

Which is basically what goes a very, very, very chilling way.

Grace starts to hard core spiral in a fit of trying to repent for her 'sinful' ways. With the cheese having successfully slid off her cracker, she threatens the kid with a gun and tells them it's time to repent.

Meanwhile, Dad hasn't heard from them in a while, so he gets worried. He drives up there to find the house in disarray and Grace completely gone with a gun with his kids.

Grace, still convinced they are in purgatory tries to shoot herself, but the gun jams. She shoots and kills Dad instead. The kids try to make a run for it, but they get the car stuck in the snow. The movie ends with Grace, the kids, and the corpse of their dad at the table. 

She puts tape over their mouths (like they did in the cult) and the last image we see:

You wanna know what a gut punch feels like? This ending.  

See, the thing is, despite the fact that these kids clearly gaslit a mentally ill person and, well, unfortunately got what they deserved, you do not feel that way at the end of this movie. 

Aidan and Mia are incredibly sympathetic.  Even after finding out they are responsible for this entire situation, you still want them to escape. You still want them to live. It hurts like a sonofabitch when they don't make it.

 So, yes, of course this gets a jewel!

When a movie actually makes you feel some type of way, it's definitely a winner. I'm adding
Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz to my directors to watch when I want to see something messed up list.

Next week's movie! Night Teeth! Time for another good old fashioned vampire movie!



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