The trailer for The Lighthouse has everything you need from a horror movie: Robert Pattinson fighting an octopus with his bare hands. Willem Dafoe donning a Santa Claus beard. Mermaids. Two crying lighthouse keepers slow-dancing in the dark.
Robert Eggers, the extremely promising new director who electrified horror crowds with The Witch in 2015, is finally back, and boy does he seem like he’s here to stay. His new film looks to be a two-hander starring arthouse darlings Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Set in a mysterious lighthouse on a New England island in the 1890s, the film looks equal parts Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Moby Dick.
Shot in what seems to be a 1×1 aspect ratio, the trailer bears some striking resemblances to early cinema, sporting explosive close-ups in the old-school square format that make this look like Passion of Joan of Arc at sea. It seems the lighthouse is adrift in some sort of time nexus, as the two men spiral into insanity with the waves crashing through the windows, and with Dafoe and Pattinson at the helm, you can bet there is going to be some serious snarling and growling in the face of death here.
The Lighthouse had its world premiere at Cannes in May 2019, where the film became a smash hit among the critic audience. Eggers’ previous film, The Witch, was a similarly beloved piece of work, fitting into what many film writers have begun to refer to as the new era of “elevated,” or “auteur” horror. However you feel about the state of horror, it’s hard to deny that The Witch was an extremely nuanced, elegant vision for filmmaking. From the looks of this trailer, it seems Eggers isn’t pulling any punches for The Lighthouse either.