THE LIGHTHOUSE—Regal Reel Deep Dive

(left to right) Lighthouse keepers Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), sporting a large beard and pipe in his mouth, and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), sporting a rugged mustache and stubble, stare at screen left with the lighthouse behind them in this black-and-white image from The Lighthouse (2019)


It's been a few years since Robert Eggers made his arrival to the industry with his debut movie, The Witch (2015) (fully titled The VVitch: A New England Folktale), a mystery/horror that earned him a lot of recognition at Sundance in 2015 and is still ranked as one of the top horror movies of the decade by many cult fans and genre buffs. Now, we see his sophomore effort with The Lighthouse, a psychological arthouse thriller set to arrive at select Regal theatres October 25th.

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The Lighthouse actually premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, along with a highly anticipated screening at TIFF 19, and earned outstanding reviews for its direction and brilliantly disorienting atmosphere, as well as stellar performances by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. With two official trailers out now, we can get a first look into the next horrifying masterpiece from Eggers, just in time for the Halloween season.

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Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) in The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse follows Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) in a hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890’s. Shot on 35mm, black-and-white film, this psychological thriller is a chilling display of the slow descent into madness of these two lighthouse keepers. Eggers’ framing and ability to capture the deep sense of isolation makes one feel as though they were transported alongside Winslow and Wake to this remote New England island in the turn of the 20th century.  

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As the latest trailer shows, we find Winslow and Wake who appear to be driving one another (or themselves) up a wall, shouting “What?!” back and forth at each other in a hysterical stupor. We get a first-person view into their dizzying world with close-ups of the two keepers looking increasingly haunted and unnerved, appearing to be masking their cabin fever with some kind of game. There are also quick shots of mysterious, tentacled limbs, what looks to be a mermaid’s tail, and rotting corpses, leaving a lot of unanswered questions for the viewer to decide if what they're seeing is real, or if it is all part of a conjoined hallucination.

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Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) in The Lighthouse (2019)

Much like The Witch, The Lighthouse seems to pull in the audience with its increasingly maddening atmosphere. Based on what we can see from the trailer and the themes of Eggers’ previous movie, we can expect to witness the slow and careful destruction of ego and masculinity. 

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The Lighthouse is emerging on the horizon and is coming to select regal theatres on October 25th.

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