source: A24

There aren’t too many times where I’ve walked out of a theater feeling as deeply unsettled as I did after this film. And it was awesome.

I almost don’t even want to say anything else about this movie, because it is the kind of thing better seen without any expectations or preconceptions, but there are some things that can be said that *ahem* keeps the secrets.

First of all, this film is a piece of technical magic. The direction, cinematography, lighting, score, and set design of this movie is breathtaking. It’s almost distractingly beautiful, but also terribly uncomfortable at the same time. How Robert Eggers managed this is a true feat, and every cinephile should be getting a ticket just to see this work on the big screen.

But what really pulls it all together are the spellbinding performances from William DeFoe and Robert Pattinson. These are sure to be career defining for these two, which is saying something because they are well known and respected actors. Neither ever hold anything back, and the range from these characters is astounding. It was legitimately entrancing to watch, because they threw so much at the roles.

The premise for this film is quite basic — a lighthouse keeper and his assistant get stranded out there for longer than they bargained for, and the isolation begins to wear on them, as well as the presence of something more sinister. It’s not a horror film in the usual sense, but it’s certainly terrifying in its own right.

I found this film so interesting because in many ways it transcends genre, and those are my favorite kinds of films. It’s funny, but it feels uncomfortable to laugh. It’s scary, but it doesn’t seem like there’s any pressing threat. It’s exactly what you think it will be, and yet it’s shocking. It seems deeply profound, and yet leaves you strangely empty. It’s art, it’s beautiful, but it’s not pleasant. Or is it?

I think this is the kind of film that will register differently to different people. For me, I could recognize the many ways in which is was genius, but perhaps didn’t hit all the rights notes for my preferences. That being said, I’m so glad that I saw it because I had a very visceral reaction to it, and that’s always the point of films — to move us, to effect us in some way. This film is certainly effective, and I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

It’s one that you’ve just gotta see and judge for yourself, and there is perhaps no better praise in the world of film.

Final Score: A 

The Lighthouse is in theaters now.