For die-hards, no horror movie can be too scary. But for you, a wimp, the wrong one may leave you miserable. Perhaps you’ve even lost whole nights of sleep in a struggle to get certain images or ideas out of your head, leaving you to trudge into work or school the next morning unable to function properly.
Never fear, scaredies, because Slate’s Scaredy Scale is here to help. We’ve put together a highly scientific and mostly spoiler-free system for rating new horror movies, comparing them to classics along a 10-point scale. And because not everyone is scared by the same things—some viewers can’t stand jump scares, while others are haunted by more psychological terrors or simply can’t stomach arterial spurts—it breaks down each movie’s scares across three criteria: suspense, spookiness, and gore. This time: The Lodge, the extremely dark new thriller about a woman (Riley Keough) stranded in a snow-draped cabin in the mountains with her fiancé’s hostile son and daughter.
The Lodge makes effective use of silence in a sequence set in a cult bunker and later in the shadows of the cabin, and there’s some brief but excruciating business with a gun. You may dread things. But the movie is mostly spare, quiet, and jump-scare-free—it’s about as far from fun-house multiplex horror as it gets.
The movie’s final shot alone will send this to the far side of the meter for some viewers, and it ticks many of the boxes that tend to get people: suicide, religious fanaticism, cults, mental illness, kids in distress, miniatures, murdered yappy pets. So have your 7, The Lodge. Will it haunt me? I doubt it. This is a very, very, very bleak movie, and it is often effective, but its characters are such emotional blurs that their fates didn’t destroy me.
Two scenes of gun violence and their aftermath.
The Lodge finally arrives to theaters after a well-received debut at Sundance 2019, with a strong horror pedigree in directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz (Goodnight Mommy) and studio-peddled quotes that tout it as “the next great horror movie” and “scary as hell.” The movie I saw is more twisted and occasionally disturbing than terrifying, even with a third-act reveal that significantly darkens the proceedings. It’ll be a feel-bad delight for some horror die-hards, but most viewers will be left more bored than haunted.