Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper has some good chilling moments, although the atmosphere is not sustained throughout.
A man wakes up on a remote peninsula, not remembering his name or how he got there. He is given refuge by the lighthouse keeper, who tells him that they are the only two people on the peninsula. The man, however, sees a beautiful young woman…
Directed and co-written by Benjamin Cooper (with Carl Edge), the film is based on an unfinished story by Edgar Allan Poe. As such, Cooper and Edge have license to shape the narrative how they wish. Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper is a mystery, with horror overtones that grow as the film progresses.
The first half of the film builds atmosphere rather well. Cooper plays on the tension between J.P. and Walsh, contrasting it well with the burgeoning relationship between J.P. and Nora. Jump scares are not used to liberally in the first half, which allows for the narrative to develop. The second half of Lighthouse Keeper is less satisfying, however. The narrative becomes a little predictable, and it feels like the film rushes into horror. The brooding gothic mystery which came before is a much more effective tone.
It is clear that Lighthouse Keeper has been made on a small budget. This is not a hindrance at all to begin with, as Cooper makes good use of light and shadow. However, there are some poor special effects later on in the film, and the reliance on showing the creatures also shows the lack of budget. It appears that Cooper was inspired by earlier adaptations of Poe’s work. The old film effect is a nice touch. Vernon Wells gives a strong performance as Walsh; he brings a fitting blend of melancholy and agitation to the role. Matt O’Neill and Rachel Riley are decent as J.P. and Nora, but it is Wells who is most memorable.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper has a strong start, but pushes too hard to turn a mystery into a horror. The film’s early promise is let down by a lacklustre second half.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper will be available to watch on Digital Download from 27th November 2017.