REVIEW BY CHRISTIAN VALENTIN
The Lighthouse is an ambitious divergence from The Witch’s occult dread, into the genre’s more obscure depths. Even less traditional horror than its predecessor, the film is a roaring tempest of style and performance: a descent into cackling insanity, writhing with furious energy against the confines of its square frame.
Eggers commands that frame with an exacting grip akin to Dafoe’s draconian lighthouse keeper. Perfectly-timed cuts result in moments of hilarious contrast, precise composition create arresting imagery rooted in expressionist cinema and silent film, black-and-white chiaroscuro turn an isolated crag into a sea-swept Gothic canvas.
Dafoe and Pattinson both enthrall through their antagonistic dynamic, but the former is a revelation. Nautical jargon and seaman sermons flow like poetry from between jagged teeth, delivered with scene-devouring ecstasy. Pattinson is no slouch either as Ephraim, a lanky bundle of raw nerves. A very entertaining gull rounds out the cast. The Lighthouse is just that kind of movie, meaning it’s surprisingly comic, unapologetically peculiar, haunting and otherworldly.
I still prefer The Witch, but Eggers’ dedication to authenticity, the riveting visuals, and fascinating interplay between the central duo are unparalleled as a unique cinematic experience.