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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'The Lighthouse': A Boldly Macabre Tale of Two Lighthouse Keepers at the Very Edge of Sanity

Movie poster for the film The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe

The Lighthouse (2019) is a boldly macabre psychological horror film starring Robert Pattinson as Ephraim Winslow and Willem Dafoe as Thomas Wake, dual 19th-Century lighthouse keepers functioning and residing on a small remote island off the coast of New England.

As the storyline begins, Winslow arrives to the isolated outpost in order to fulfill a month-long contract position under the tutelage of the aged and irritable Wake—the two bearing little favor for one another from the outset. Wake assigns the most burdensome physical tasks to the younger Winslow, to the latter's chagrin, while they take alternating shifts at the control of the titular navigational aid. Soon Winslow becomes increasingly beset by dark visions while the caustic Wake engages in mysterious nighttime activities—animosity between the two ultimately festering to a point of unbridled fury.

Co-written and directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch) in just his second foray behind the camera, The Lighthouse is a haunting tale of desperation, hostility and madness. Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke's stark black and white hues, framed within a box-like aspect ratio, conjure an antiquated look-and-feel akin to the time period while engendering a foreboding sense of claustrophobia. With the added pleasure of roundly breathtaking performances from both Pattinson and Dafoe, it's world class horror in the hands of a burgeoning new master of the genre.


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