‘The Lighthouse’ is directed by Robert Eggers and stars Robert Pattinson as a new apprentice to A cold, out of touch with humanity lighthouse keeper played by Willam Dafoe. This lighthouse is far from away from any town and the weather is harsh and rough. Mystery inhabits the lighthouse and its Keeper, as Pattinson’s character begins to unravel a hypnotic and terrifying truth in this slow-burn horror film that I had a blast watching.
‘The Lighthouse’ has such a unique look to it. Since the film is set in 1890, the director chose to filter his footage from a 1.19:1 aspect ratio, making the size of the screen the same as a square picture. This was to make it feel like it was filmed in the 19th century and I loved that attention to detail. The aspect ratio and the black and white colorization adds to the horror. I hate hate HATE old-timey black and white photos of people and the director took my nightmare and made a two-hour film look like it. It’s framed beautifully and the cinematography is breathtaking. If there is any reason other than the stellar performances in ‘The Lighthouse’ to rush out to see it on a big screen, it’s the impressive look and style the film has.
I adored these characters and performances from both Pattinson and Dafoe. Both actors have very distinctive accents that either could have been completely butchered, but because of how great these two actors are and how sharp the direction by Eggers is it never tips over to that possibility. Dafoe is a very frightening figure and Pattinson is able to really showcase his acting abilities in trying to deal with Dafoe’s character. They dislike each other for about 99% of the time they are around each other, and Pattinson does a great job of showing a descent into madness that is brought on by Dafoe’s character.
Coming from the studio A24, and because of the directors’ previous work ‘The Witch’, there is an expectation that ‘The Lighthouse’ will likely not spell out every detail and plot to you and that is true. The story takes its time in letting you sit in the madness and uncomfortableness of the lighthouse and weather conditions. Where I feel there is not enough payoff to me was in the ending scene. I can’t really detail WHY I didn’t prefer it because that would spoil the film but what I’ll say is, in the end, it didn’t destroy my enjoyment of the final product. As well if you are looking for a horror film out of this you need to lower expectations. ‘The Lighthouse’ is a slow burn character study. The horror comes from the dialogue and words rather than a monster that shows up in the end. There are disturbing sequences and suspenseful horror but it holds to that specific tone and might dissatisfy someone looking for a slasher/possession type of film.
In the end, I had a great time with ‘The Lighthouse’. It is a great slow burn with two incredible performances and a unique and stylized look. I would recommend this to anyone doubting my boy Pattinson as Batman and for those wanting Dafoe as The Joker one day. It’s almost as good as my horrible fan fiction (that was a joke).