‘The Lodge’ review: Riley Keough learns that family bonding is hell

It’s prime horror-movie season, and psychological chiller “The Lodge” does not disappoint. The follow-up to 2014’s “Goodnight Mommy,” from writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, sees Riley Keough (“Under the Silver Lake”) playing an awkward stepmom-to-be marooned in a cabin with two resentful charges — the teen son (Jaeden Martell) and tween daughter (Lia McHugh) of her partner, Richard (Richard Armitage).

Keough’s Grace arrives for Christmas vacation already guilty of not being the children’s mom (a too-briefly-glimpsed Alicia Silverstone), but the internet-savvy kids have Grace’s backstory to be suspicious of, too: The daughter of a Jim Jones-like cult leader, she was, as a child, the lone survivor of a mass suicide. Keough is riveting as the vulnerable Grace, who’s found love with Richard, author of a book about the tragedy. What could go wrong?

Left alone to get to know each other in a shadowy vacation house, Grace and the kids experience a series of unsettling events. Claustrophobic glimpses down dark hallways, austere religious imagery and howling blizzard winds fuel a spiraling tension; the richly layered sound design (including a couple of hair-raising renditions of “Nearer, My God, to Thee”) will keep you from even a moment’s relaxation.

“The Lodge,” which climbs from low-level melancholy to all-out hysteria, tips its hat to several predecessors, “Hereditary,” “The Shining” and “The Others” among them. Well, if you’re going to derive, why not from the best? It also veers close to being overgrown with plot tendrils — there are about 10 ways you can see all this drama and trauma playing out — but wraps up with a grand, grim flourish. The titular lodge? It may refer to the final shot, stuck in your brain.

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