ANNABELLE BRAND explores Robert Eggers’ maritime horror, The Lighthouse, through an examination of the texts which influenced it. ‘A thousand thousand slimy things lived on—and so did I,’ recounts the titular sailor of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The mariner’s curse would not be amiss if spoken into The Lighthouse. The claustrophobic new horror, directed by Robert Eggers, and co-written by Eggers and his brother Max, promises viewers an opportunity to hang up, if not their brains, then certainly their peace of mind, with their hats (or sou’westers) in the cloakroom. Tentacles, seabirds, mermaids and storms all ooze their way from the depths of the ocean into the psyche of both characters and audience, and cling there long after the credits have rolled. The horror of The Lighthouse is one of familiarity. The audience cannot help but recognise the shadowy influences of Eggers’ work from half-remembered history books, whispered bedtime…Continue Reading


BRUNO REYNELL reviews Ari Aster’s genre-defying Midsommar. Were it not for its overt title, the gloomy snow-filled landscapes that open Midsommar might tempt us into thinking that the shadows and darkness typical of the horror genre will envelop the film. What instead emerge are verdant fields, flowing robes and the midnight sun – this is to be a markedly different iteration of chilling disquiet. Indeed, Midsommar shouldn’t really be categorised as a horror film – the pre-film trailer for the sequel to It had me fearfully averting my gaze from the screen more often than the main event’s 147 minutes. It does have its fair share of violence and gore, but this is very much slow-burning psychological tension as opposed to jump-from-your-seat slasher action. Aster himself has said it is a ‘breakup movie’ and this definition feels appropriate. It is a vulnerable relationship that frames the narrative, and which, through its…Continue Reading