Starring: Mark Lewis Jones, Michael Jibson, Ian Virgo
Written by: Chris Crow, Michael Jibson, Paul Bryant
Directed by: Chris Crow
Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Reviewed by: Dan Oles
‘Based on a true story’ is seldom the description of an uplifting film, and The Lighthouse is no exception.
The tale of the Smalls Island Incident of 1801 was the grim occurrence which prompted lighthouses to conclude the employment of one or two lighthouse keepers to man the solitary beacons planted on deserted stretches of coastline. The Lighthouse brings home the psychological factors which lead to the infamous events, introducing us to the two keepers (both named Tom) who would unwittingly become the last examples of their dangerous profession.
Most of the circumstances are a matter of record and faithfully recreated, from the journal entries to the conflicting personalities of the two men to the disastrous storm which stranded them with diminishing supplies and no hope of rescue.
The production is slick as it is brutal and gritty: pale light turning everything it touches sepia and refracting into muddy lens flares off guttering candles and the cold light pouring through smeary windows. Sound is a massive factor in the menace of the story. In the confines of the lighthouse every little noise seems amplified, and to imply this the design brings forward almost every little break in the silence. Lips wrapping around a pipe stem smack unnervingly, ropes creak, rain lashes, whispered prayers are loud enough to make out every other word. The conflict of skepticism or outright nihilism in the face of faith is a major theme running through the tone poem which is this movie but it mostly serves as one more aspect of tension that ramps until the stark conclusion.
A moody, beautifully shot, extremely well acted horror tale without the need for ghosts. If you’re looking for happiness you’ll find precious little, but you will find atmosphere to spare.
THE LIGHTHOUSE opens in select theaters July 6 and VOD July 10.