An anthology film where the anthologies themselves are more interesting than the overall plot.
“Tales from the Lodge” is the directorial debut for Abigail Blackmore. The film follows a group of friends who go to a secluded lodge in the woods to spread the ashes of their deceased friend. While there, the group shares several spooky tales — all directed by each respective actor, and then become engrossed in a horror tale of their own.
The cast does fairly well working with the script they are given. Characters hit comedic beats with grace and are particularly good at narrating the various tales told on screen. The best moments are when characters point out inaccuracies are clichés in the story. It’s a fun wink to the audience that connects viewers to the story. There’s no particular character that seems to stand out as all of them seem to have a good balance of flaws and positive qualities.
The story’s primary focus is on the group of friends who have resided in a secluded lodge. Although, throughout the film characters share weird macabre tales from the lodge that are actually directed by the actors themselves. These stories range from sex-obsessed demons to a Kiefer Sutherland look-alike fighting zombies. These moments are when the film really shines with its unique concepts and absurd dark humor. Unfortunately, these tales have little bearing on the main story and are merely there to pass the time. It would have been so cool for the events in these stories to actually enter reality, but instead they are just there for fun.
This relates to the main problem within the film, which is its general story. When the characters are not telling the creepy tales, the film pretty much consists of the characters doing boring things around the lodge. They make cupcakes, talk and drink alcohol. These scenes are generally necessary as they offer an insight into the relationships between the characters, but they aren’t particularly compelling. It’s not until a good half of the movie has passed that the suspected existence of a “maniac” is incorporated into the plot and characters find themselves in their own horror story.
The absolute final nail in the film’s mediocre plot is its outrageous attempt at a twist. While the reveal of the true villain is predictable, it's the twist added on top that is truly the definition of far-fetched. The film tries to incorporate a deranged reveal but, in all honesty, it actually ends up shining a bad light on LGBTQ community. While I’m sure the intentions were only for the sake of showcasing the unhinged lust of its villain, it definitely should’ve raised some eyebrows during production.
“Tales from the Lodge” is at its best when it deals with its anthalogical elements, but falls flat as it tries to bring the horror into reality.