Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe spiral into madness in the fantastic horror movie, ‘The Lighthouse’

Each want the light, but only one can be mad enough to get it.

Robert Eggers' new movie "The Lighthouse," which is the follow-up to his acclaimed 2015 debut feature, "The Witch," shows just how talented this writer-director is — and how twisted his mind works.

The movie, which stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, is set in 1890s New England and follows two lighthouse keepers as they tend to a lighthouse on a remote island. But soon the isolation from the rest of the world makes the two become mad.

Shot in striking black-and-white, which makes the movie even creepier, "The Lighthouse" is a triumph in filmmaking. From the camera movements to the lighting, production design, directing, and acting, it's a complexly orchestrated exploration into insanity disguised as a chamber piece.

And to pull that off, Eggers (who cowrote the script with his brother Max) turns up the crazy a little more compared to "The Witch." There are demented seagulls, a mermaid, octopus tendons, and the beacon of light at the top of the lighthouse that makes men lose their minds.

Robert Pattinson goes mad in "The Lighthouse."

A24

Pattinson plays Ephraim, who spends his days doing the backbreaking work to keep the lighthouse clean and in proper order. Dafoe plays Thomas, who speaks like a pirate and whose only job is to keep the light in the lighthouse shining bright. And he will not share that responsibility with Ephraim, who very much wants to get a turn.

Over time, both men show signs that they are beginning to lose it. From the excessive drinking to the visions of mermaids and octopuses that Ephraim has, things start to get weird. And it only gets weirder when Ephraim catches a glance at Thomas taking care of the light — in the nude! Eventually, Ephraim and Thomas begin to turn on one another leading to situations that start out funny but become horrific.

Throughout though, Eggers, Pattinson, and Dafoe's talents shine. The movie is beautifully crafted and acted. And it's very impressive that Pattinson has the acting chops to keep up with Dafoe in the crazy department.

"The Lighthouse" is a sea tale come to life. And like many of those tall tales sailors passed down to generations, they are really examinations of how fragile the human psyche is.

The business details:

  • In theaters October 18.
  • Shot in Nova Scotia, Canada.
  • Released by A24.

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