Tales from the Lodge Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I saw this on Amazon Prime where they described it as a film about a group of friends pushing 40…  Uhmmmm let’s start with the fact that 50 year old Johnny Vegas is in this film and go with another description I found about a group of 40 something year old friends…  We’re a bit more accurate now.  Just to clarify also that they put it in the horror category, but you’ll see that I’ve shoved it in the comedy envelope.  The horror undertones really are very well masked in comedy and not that over the top horror which turns in to comedy type.

You know that its going to be funny by the fact that Johnny Vegas is in this film, and I have to say that he doesn’t get to do as many films as you’d hope, but that could be because he’s not really the greatest actor.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Johnny Vegas and when ever he is on a panel show like 8 Out of 10 Cats, 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown or Task Master, the man is a comedy genius and national treasure!  In his acting roles I think he is best suited to tv shows like Benidorm rather than feature films because there is a bit of leeway…  This film did as a result (not just of his acting) feel like it could have been split over 2 or 3 tv specials rather than a single movie.

Lifting the acting game again and this is what got my hopes up was the fact that Mackenzie Crook (who is probably best known for his role in Pirates of the Caribbean) also had a staring role.  He is an incredible actor and didn’t overly disappoint in this role, but even his performance did end up feeling a lot like a tv special.

There is no denying that this is a funny film and how could it not be when it has such a funny power house cast, however they all shine that bit more when they are doing their own material.

What I’m trying to say I think is that it really could have been a lot more offensive and crude!  Surely when Vegas is in the mix that’s what you want?

In terms of special effects and costume it’s much the same story as the script but it did atleast allow the film to run on a steady par.  I think to say that it was pleasantly average throughout is a pretty good statement.  I had it on while I was packing eBay orders for example, and it was amusing and mildy entertaining while I did that.  Had I sat down with the pure intention to watch this film I think time wouldn’t have passed quite so quickly. 

It’s just not a film which you can get really drawn in to.

The format is one which quite a few horror films have taken on because it just works for the genre.  There are a bunch of short stories which are told and acted by the different friends, but with this being the main horror element for a large part of the film they really could have been a lot scarier, even though I realise that they are meant to be satirical.  It is in fact with his story of a zombie apocalypse where Johnny Vegas shines the most.

I think it helps that he has a bleached mullet in his story – it’s a surprisingly good look for him!

The filler bits were a little too long, the stories too different and the big reveal of who did it as the friend find themselves in their own scary story being so dramatic that it just feels too disjointed.  Almost as if they decided that it would be a good horror movie (or I guess more thriller – as the horror really is very tame) once they got to the last third of the film.

You’ve seen a lot of negative comments from me and whilst I want to say that there are a lot of surprise jokes and that it’s a great concept I don’t think I can.  The concept was good but let down by the execution and the majority of the big gags come in the trailer…  As is so often the way.

But look, if you’ve got some friends around and want to watch something fairly funny while having some drinks (I think that’ll definitely help make it more amusing) then absolutely watch this film – especially if you have Prime and can watch it for free (I would have been pretty bummed out had I paid for it).  If you want to laugh out loud and need a Johnny Vegas fix, watch the latest season of Task Master which is absolute gold.  Just the first episode alone will have you rolling on the floor!

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