The Haunting Lodge (2023) Review
The Haunting Lodge is described as an “unscripted investigative documentary”. That’s another way of saying it’s one of those films where a couple of ghost hunters set up some gear at an allegedly haunted location and wander around in the dark recording allegedly spooky goings on. In this case the parapsychologists are Kendall and Vera Whelpton who also made The House in Between and its sequel as well as The Sleepless Unrest: The Real Conjuring Home.
This time they’re investigating an allegedly haunted hunting lodge owned by a man named Dan Giles. Built in 1913 it sat abandoned on some farmland his father had bought until Dan restored it. Almost immediately, he says, people were hearing footsteps and other sounds in the night. After several years of this scaring off hunters, he decided to call in the Whelptons to find out what was going on before he went broke.
Almost as soon as they get there, Dan takes them to a see what he claims is an unmarked grave in the woods that has the ghost of a woman in white attached to it. Amusingly, he makes sure to grab his pistol from the truck, “Just in case”. Maybe he planned to make like Danny Trejo in The Legend of La Llorona and shoot any ghosts that turn up.
The Haunting Lodge is only about an hour long, and the first thirty minutes never gets more exciting than some footsteps and lights on a couple of pieces of equipment blinking, supposedly as a spirit tries to communicate with them. Apart from that, there’s an interview with a farmer who claims a ghost opened his car door and got in while he was driving and talk about the area’s bloody and haunted history. The kind of things we expect from films like this, only duller than usual. Not as dull as The Witch of Hinsdale, but close.
Just about halfway through The Haunting Lodge, a title card tells us based on their investigation they concluded it was a typical residual haunting. A second card says they were wrong. I was hoping this would mark a turning point and the film would start to get interesting. I was wrong.
The Whelptons bring in Jill Morris, the medium from The House in Between films, she makes contact with alien energy. I should add that it’s telepathic contact. We see some blurry lights and her drawings of what look like the Grey aliens and Bigfoot with abs. Even when they supposedly have the lodge surrounded, we see nothing. What are they? Are they aliens? Alien ghosts? Some sort of elemental spirit? Your guess is as good as mine because The Haunting Lodge never tells us or even offers suggestions, it just ends on an anticlimactic note, they don’t even tell us if the haunting stopped after this.
In the absence of any kind of interesting footage to show us, the film needed its hosts to be extremely charismatic or have a flair for showmanship, they have neither. Kendall is actually annoying with his habit of talking to the spirits as if they were three-year olds. I kept hoping one of the ghosts would get sick of being treated like an idiot and go all Poltergeist on him.
I can’t see even fans of these kinds of films and shows liking The Haunting Lodge. It’s so bland I was having trouble keeping my eyes open by the end of it. Even the presence of a musical score couldn’t make anything the least bit tense or scary. If you find people saying, “That sounds like the door” then finding the back door sitting open scary, then you might have a different opinion.
Gravitas Ventures will release The Haunting Lodge to VOD and Digital Platforms on October 17th. You can check the film’s website for more information.