Whilst portmanteau horror films were popular in the 1960s and 1970s, largely due to the work of Abacus, it’s not until fairly recently that there’s been a resurgence. Along the way we’ve seen the occasional highlight (most notably Creepshow), but it was arguably the release of VHS which sparked something of a comeback for the anthology film. Ghost Stories also did well last year. Abigail Blackmore’s Tales from the Lodge carries on in the same vein.
Five old university friends meet at an isolated lodge in rural England to scatter the ashes of their dead mate Jonesy, who committed suicide three years earlier. Paul (Dustin Demri-Burns) has brought his new girlfriend, Miki (Kelly Wenham), much to the chagrin of Martha (Laura Fraser). Whilst her partner is having trouble with his heart (Mackenzie Crook). Meanwhile, Russell (Johnny Vegas) and Emma (Sophie Thompson) are just happy to be child-free and intend to get extremely drunk. Things don’t quite go to plan.
Tales from the Lodge carries on a rich tradition of British horror films which sees terror and comedy go hand in hand. As you’d expect, some of the stories are more effective than others, but it’s the overarching narrative which bears the most fruit. Tales from the Lodge is very much an ensemble piece and one which works because of the inter-relationships between the actors. It will keep you entertained around the campfire.
Tales from the Lodge screened at Grimmfest.