The Lighthouse (2019) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Lighthouse (2019) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on April 27th, 2020 | Movie Review | Slow Burn, A24, Psychological, Confined, Isolation, Arthouse

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It's about a couple of guys who slowly devolve into madness while stuck manning a remote lighthouse.

The Lighthouse was directed by Robert Eggers (who also directed The Witch) and stars Willem Dafoe (from Death Note and Antichrist), Robert Pattinson and Valeriia Karaman.

There is enchantment in the light.

The Lighthouse isn't a horror movie. It's an arthouse drama about loneliness, deceit and paranoia. It's an A24 movie that's more like The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Dogtooth than Hereditary or Midsommar (the former being weird artsy experimental films and the later being actual horror movies). The Lighthouse was director Robert Eggers' second movie, the first was The Witch. The Witch was definitely a horror movie. The Lighthouse was definitely not.

I generally like Arthouse horror movies and I really like slow burn horror movies. Eraserhead was awesome (black and white metaphorical artsy movie) and so was The House that Jack Built (very slow burning metaphorical artsy movie). I also like Lovecraftian movies that basically leave all imagery up to the viewers imagination (YellowBrickRoad and Resolution come to mind).

If this sounds defensive it's because it is. My wife, who suffered through this movie alongside me, related people's comments about it to the emperors new clothes. Basically, "if you don't like it it's because you don't get it". Or, "if you don't like it it's because you can't appreciate slow burns" or anything intellectual.

I can appreciate all that and still think The Lighthouse sucked.

So, what's the movie like? Picture a black and white film shot on 35mm film with a 1.19:1 (square) aspect ratio that shows the story of a couple of guys (one of whom is a pirate) talking, fighting, drinking, dancing, fighting, singing, talking, fighting and occasionally jerking off. Now picture that looping for nearly two hours.  

Mainstream critics LOVE this movie because it was made to cater to what they like, and because none of those critics can openly call out the emperor for being butt naked.

Worth Watching? 

I couldn't recommend this to anyone looking for a horror movie. Film study project? Sure. Hipster film club of the month selection? Maybe. But it's not a horror movie. A better horror about a lighthouse would have to be The Lighthouse Keeper.

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