The Lodge originally premiered last year at Sundance, where Neon (the distributor for Parasite) picked up the rights to the film. They clearly knew they had a gem on their hands, because Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s follow-up to the 2014 thriller Goodnight Mommy is tightly wounded and superbly acted.

The film rests on the capable shoulders of Riley Keough’s Grace and her two reluctant charges, played by Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh. Together, the three experience untold horrors in an already harsh environment that would drive anyone mad. While carrying a horror film may seem like a lot to ask of such a small and young cast, it was a rewarding experience for all three.

With The Lodge preparing for wide release on February 7, the three actors reunited to discuss the film with Screen Rant. They shared their own personal brand of horror, some of their behind-the-scenes antics, and some of the research and experience it took to get into character for such a raw story.

Congratulations on The Lodge, you guys. You all did an excellent job. My favorite thing about it was that even though there’s supernatural and paranormal components, it’s really at its core about what we do to each other and how we lash out at other people. With that in mind, I wanted to know your brand of horror. Do you guys like psychological or supernatural?

With the darkness of the content, was there any time that you were so good that you scared yourself on set?

Riley Keough: I would say like supernatural, but psychological messes me up more.

Lia McHugh: I love watching psychological movies, not for… I mean, the effect it has on you is a little bit creepy, but they’re really interesting to watch. They’re enjoyable at times, but when you really think about it, you’re like, “Oh, no, I didn’t want to know that,” or “I don’t want to be thinking these thoughts.” But they’re really interesting.

Jaeden Martell: Yeah, I like ones like this. Like The Lodge and Hereditary, where it’s just a slow burn and it’s not jump scare after jump scare. It’s more psychological.

Lia McHugh: Yeah, sure. Who’s the bad guy, and the characters are so dimensional.

But you guys did have to work in harsh environments. For example, do you really fall in the ice?

Lia McHugh: She scared me once.

Riley Keough: I’m scared of myself in general. No, I scared her once.

Lia McHugh: The scene where I’m walking out of the bathroom, she didn’t talk to me for a long time before that. And I didn’t see her makeup or anything.

Riley Keough: It’s like, what is our job?

Lia McHugh: That was the only time. The rest of the time, I had a lot of fun.

But was it cold for you, or did you have to deal with the location?

Riley Keough: Those were stunt people.

I’m sure you both are angels in real life, but you are a little difficult with your stepmom-to-be, and maybe you don’t have the best family dynamic. Is there any time that you pulled a prank or told an outrageous lie in your own childhoods that you would like to confess?

Riley Keough: I was freezing a lot, yeah.

Lia McHugh: It was so cold.

Riley Keough: There’s a scene in the film where there was a blizzard, and I was crying for real. I was very cold.

Lia McHugh: Yeah, the scene where we lose our jackets and we literally just had a blanket on.

Riley Keough: And you’re always crying for real, but I was crying out of coldness.

Speaking of your parents, I think that we need to talk about Richard -

Lia McHugh: I can fake cry really well, and so I can trick my dad really easily.

Jaeden Martell: Whoa. That’s messed up.

Lia McHugh: Yeah, my mom caught on to it

Riley Keough: Manipulative.

Jaeden Martell: I can’t lie. I’ll just start - I’ll breakdown, or I’ll start laughing.

Lia McHugh: I have a really hard time lying to my parents. I feel really guilty. Sometimes I’ll even come up to them and tell them. And they’re, like, sigh.

Yes! How bad of a husband-slash-father do we think he is on a scale of 1 to 10?

Riley Keough: Richard’s parenting skills?

Not Richard in real life. But, actually, I did want to know about that. Did the directors give you your names post-casting, or were they just magically like that?

Lia McHugh: Zero. Horrible.

Riley Keough: He’s a horrible father.

Jaeden Martell: In the movie.

Really? So, it was just kismet that you guys were in this film.

Riley Keough: No, magically! …It was like that.

On a more serious note: the character of Grace has such an intense backstory, but it’s only given to us in snippets as we go through about the film. Did you have to work off of just that in the script, or did you have conversations with the directors?

Lia McHugh: Sometimes I would yell, when I yelled for Aiden, I would say Jaeden. Instead of saying Aiden, I’d say Jaden, but it just sounded the same.

And similarly, did you how did you approach the mental illness angle? Because I thought it was really interesting how that contributes to the atmosphere of fear, but also, we can’t villainize her. She’s a survivor.

Riley Keough: We had conversations. They had a lot of research on this type of thing happening. I got to speak to people who went through similar situations in their life, and just looking at what that trauma can do. And really empathizing with that, honestly.

And that was the most interesting part of this. It’s a horror story, but it’s also about a woman who’s gone through a lot of trauma.

Despite the fact that the family dynamic isn’t great on screen, hopefully you got to have some moments off screen. So, was there any fun bonding or just fun times on set?

Riley Keough: Totally. Yeah, I mean, I experienced - I have really bad panic attacks and anxiety. So, that’s something that I didn’t need to research. And that was similarly like what she wanted from Grace. So, I had experience with that.

Shirley Temples?

Lia McHugh: We had a lot of bonding, and they kept her very separate.

Riley Keough: I was bonding with myself. On Instagram in my room.

Jaeden Martell: We went ice skating and rock climbing.

Lia McHugh: Yeah, we had a blast.

Jaeden Martell: We played games and had lunch…

Lia McHugh: In an abandoned bar in the hotel that nobody was at. We’d just go in there, and I’d pretend to bartend.

Jaeden Martell: I forgot about that.

What’s next for you guys as actors? I know that you have Zola, which I cannot wait to see. It must be whiplash, going back and forth talking about these two.

Lia McHugh: But there was nothing behind the bar. Just water and pepper, and making people drink it.

Riley Keough: Making concoctions? I love that.

More: Horror Movies Aren’t Dead In 2020 Just Yet

Riley Keough: Yeah. Zola, which we just played at Sundance, which was awesome. And, like, audiences were really great. I’m super excited about that. And then I’m just rehearsing for a limited series that I’m about to start.

Lia McHugh: I just finished shooting The Eternals, the new Marvel movie. That comes out November 6.

Jaeden Martell: Yeah, I just finished a limited series called Defending Jacob for Apple’s new streaming service. And then, yeah, some indie movies coming out and some projects ahead.

The Lodge premieres February 7th in theaters across the US.