Us Brits have got quite a track record when it comes to anthology horror, whether it be vintage classics like 40s favourite Dead Of Night, or the 70s Amicus efforts such as Asylum.

Last year’s film adaptation of stage hit Ghost Stories showed there was plenty of life still in the genre, and here’s writer/director Abigail Blackmore’s Tales From The Lodge having another stab.

To be fair this is a slight twist on the format, with a gaggle of old mates meeting up in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere to scatter the ashes of a friend who drowned in a nearby lake three years previous. To enliven affairs they decide to swap stories to pass the time – scary stories of course.

We get bloody bodies on car bonnets, ghost walks leading to sex-crazed husbands, zombies and more – but then things get all too real…

There’s a healthy smattering of comedy on display, hardly surprising when you have the likes of Johnny Vegas and Mackenzie Crook in the cast. But that is cleverly balanced with some genuine emotion, depth and tension among the group (even though some of it feels a little forced).

And as for the scares? Well they are there – no great shakes – but they are there.

To be totally honest though, the underplayed horror element (and the whiff of predictability that hangs over the chaotic climax) doesn’t really matter as director Blackmore plays the whole thing very tongue in cheek and the charm shows through.

There’s a gloss that belies the lack of budget and the rest of the cast – the likes of Kelly Wenham, Laura Fraser and Dustin Demri-Burns – are clearly having a good time.

It won’t end up on any ‘best of Frightfest’ lists, but Tales From The Lodge delivers 90-minutes of solid entertainment and never outstays its welcome.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: Tales From The Lodge
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle