British director, Coz Greenop’s new psychological horror takes us from the edge of the country to a bracing and turbulent seascape and more specifically: the coast’s lighthouse. Amy (April Pearson) tracks down her lover Beth (Lynne Anne Rogers) who recently disappeared following a tragic event involving her husband. Beth and her daughter are holding up in a lighthouse – which has a connection to Beth’s past.
Following the success of British horror, The Ritual earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to see what Dark Beacon had in store. What British thrillers do so well is to let the silence talk, the silence between words tells the story as much as the dialogue does. We’ve seen similar examples in The Levelling (2017) and more recently, in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. Dark Beacon successfully harnesses the sounds of the environment and the quietness of isolation to build tension in this unassuming but surprisingly creepy horror. And at a perfect 75 minutes, it manages to pack in a smorgasbord of horror tropes that we know and love.
April Pearson has emerged from a post-Skins hibernation with a strong and nuanced performance as Amy, for which she was awarded Best Actress at the 2017 American Horror Film Festival. Matched perfectly with Beth’s spiraling psychosis, together they complement each other with an effective balance of wanting, sheer terror and anxiety.
The surrounding landscape plays a big part. Constantly hinting at their isolation, the causeway that cuts the lighthouse off from the mainland means Beth is not only emotionally isolating herself but is physically trapped at times, with no means of escape. Greenop has taken the opportunity to celebrate the coastline and ever-changing elements that the ocean brings with it and ties it in with the story flawlessly.
As Beth becomes more unhinged, we’re treated to a peppering of the paranormal, and why not? What Dark Beacon has done is subtly stitched our favourite horror clichés together making the film fun for classic horror fans as well as being an original and thoughtful take on the genre.
And although it may not have audiences jumping out of their seats, it is perfectly capable of giving you the creeps!