Robot Ninja Media's Paranormal Documentary 'The Haunting Lodge' Is Ghastly Bore

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It's been said that death is the greatest mystery of life. Whether each of us merely become post-mortem daisy fodder or if we continue in some spectral form is the central question at the heart of every religious and spiritual movement the world over. In our modern age, many seeking answers have turned towards technology to probe the shadowy edges of our reality. But what, if anything, will they find in those darkened bowers of man’s domain? And do we dare look?

Husband and wife filmmakers Kendall and Vera Whelpton (the duo responsible for the true-life paranormal documentaries The House In Between and its follow-up, The Sleepless Unrest: The Real Conjuring Home), are two such investigators of the unknown, and this time they turn their attention to the Pine Ridge Hunting Plantation, an allegedly haunted expanse in rural Fort Gaines, Georgia, in the new Robot Ninja Media/Gravitas Ventures release, The Haunting Lodge.

Situated along the Chattahoochee River on ground steeped in blood shed during the various Native American wars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Fort Gaines has long had a reputation as an epicenter of supernatural shenanigans. The Pine Ridge lodge itself was originally built in 1913 and owned for generations by the Engram family before settling into the possession of local farmer Dan Giles. For at least a decade, it’s claimed, hunters staying overnight at Pine Ridge have been subjected to an array of inexplicable occurrences: phantom footsteps, spontaneously opening and closing doors, muffled voices, glowing orbs in the nearby woods. On-screen testimonials from neighboring farmers and Giles’ own brother seemingly cement the location as a paranormal hot spot, but can the Whelptons prove once and for all what these incorporeal visitations mean?

The short answer is no. An overview of the lodge’s history is given before the Whelptons arrive to set up their recording and sound monitoring equipment. Once that’s finished, they’re immediately taken by Dan to an unmarked grave hidden in the surrounding woods. So far, so spooky, but what follows is the stuff of anticlimax. Documentaries of this type need a charismatic host, yet the Whelptons are extraordinarily dry people with little of interest to say, and subsequent scenes are layered with empty faux-reality show drama that reach painful new extremes of tedium with the arrival of telepathic medium Jill Morris. Morris insists the beings responsible for the lodge’s problems are non-human entities (her drawings of them interestingly resemble sasquatches and gray aliens), but even this revelation cannot ignite much audience interest. With a mercifully brief 67 minute run time, the most fascinating parts of The Haunting Lodge have nothing to do with either a haunting or the lodge at all, but the extended chat with historian and writer Dale Cox, who provides the aforementioned summary of the area’s turbulent past.

Whether or not one believes the Pine Ridge Lodge is infested with spirits ultimately boils down to the personal belief of individual viewers, but as a piece of filmmaking The Haunting Lodge simply fails to engage, and it’s for that reason that I woefully grant it a wispy 1.5 (out of 5) on my Fang Scale. Recommended only for hardcore ghost-hunting enthusiasts, those desperate for another entry in the Paranormal Activity film franchise, or anyone seeking to remedy their insomnia.

1.5 / 5.0