December 14, 2020 – So, you are trapped in a remote vacation lodge in a snowstorm with no way out, along with a mentally unstable person. Would this be a good time for the unstable person's meds to disappear, along with their beloved emotional support dog? What could possibly go wrong in this situation?
You've probably noticed that in most disaster movies, the cute dog never dies. It turns out there is a good reason for this. When the dog dies, bad things happen to the people, too. It is acceptable to kill scores of people in a movie, but no dogs. It is a rule.
This movie reminded me a bit of “The Shining,” (set in the remote, isolated Overlook Hotel, closed for the winter, a setting modeled on the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado) with its similar themes of mental illness, death and isolation. Similarly, this film was filmed at a golf resort in Canada which was closed for the winter season.
The movie opens with Laura Hall (played by Alicia Silverstone of “Blast From the Past”) getting her children, Aiden, (Jaeden Martell of “Knives Out” and Mia (Lia McHugh of “Into the Dark”) ready to visit their father, Richard Hall (Richard Armitage of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and the Hobbit trilogy). Laura and Richard are separated and each has shared custody of the children.
Laura makes herself pretty for the visit, clearly hoping for a reconciliation with her husband. The children are clearly happy to visit their father, but they hate their father's new girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough of “It Comes at Night”).
Richard informs Laura that he wants a divorce, and that he plans to marry Grace. Laura takes this badly, very badly. Later, Richard pleads with his children to spend some time with Grace and get to know her. Richard, Grace and the two children, teenage boy Aiden and the younger girl Mia, all go to stay at a remote, isolated lodge. Richard leaves Grace, Mia and Aiden at the lodge, without a vehicle, for two days, while he goes back to work. Big mistake.
Grace has a very unusual background. She is the soul survivor of a Jonestown, or Heaven's Gate-type of cult multiple death event. Both Aiden and Mia are aware of this. They refer to Grace as a psychopath. Nevertheless, Grace seems very nice and she tries hard to befriend the children.
Strange things begin to happen at the lodge. The generator, the soul source of power, goes out. All the cell phones lose power at the same time. The dog disappears. Most of the food disappears. Grace begins to hear voices from her religious cult past.
People die in this dark, slow-paced psychological drama, which has religious and supernatural themes, but it is not really a supernatural movie, like “The Shining” (1980). If it was a supernatural movie, it would perhaps be easier for me to accept its unrealistic premise, which is based on monumentally stupid and cruel schemes pulled off with unbelievably professional theatrical flair.
I could not wait for this movie to end, but then I am not a fan of this sort of movie anyway. It is a particularly bad viewing choice on a cold, snowy winter's night when I am feeling isolated by a deadly pandemic. If you like this sort of movie, you'd probably like it just fine, at least if you watch it on a nice, warm summer day. This movie rates a C.
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