Review of ‘Edgar Allan Poe’s The Lighthouse Keeper’ (2016): A Haunting Tale

Edgar Allan Poe is a name that remains cemented among the greats in American literature. A haunted man plagued by personal demons and alcoholism, Poe poured the horrors of his life into timeless, well-known classic tales such as The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillatodo and The Fall of the House of Usher. One lesser-known story, The Light-House, is his final work that is believed to be unfinished. Writer/Director Benjamin Cooper brings this story to life depicting mystery, horror and dread in his latest film Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper.

Following the night of a violent storm, a castaway finds himself shipwrecked on the peninsula of a lighthouse with amnesia and the initials J.P. stitched inside his shirt pocket. With passage to the mainland unmanageable due to the season and a ferry not scheduled to arrive for two weeks, J.P. (Matt O’Neill) takes shelter with Walsh (Vernon Wells: The Dead Undead, Hide and Go Seek), who serves as the grounds and lighthouse keeper. A man with a somber demeanor still grieving the loss of his wife paired with a guilt ridden past, Walsh merely tolerates J.P.’s presence, giving him lodging until it’s possible for him to leave. As he continues to tend to his duties of keeping the lighthouse lit to warn passing ships away from the rocks, Walsh warns his guest to stay out of his private quarters and always keep a light lit at night.

Haunting visions and occurrences begin to arise, making J.P. question what is real and what is attributed to his injuries and memory loss. Setting out to uncover the mystery surrounding of the lighthouse grounds, he finds that Walsh’s late wife, Nora (Rachel Riley), seems to be alive and well and living in the woods nearby. As J.P. quickly becomes infatuated with Nora, the thought-to-be deceased woman tells the shipwrecked castaway to keep this a secret from Walsh. However, when small tremors begin to shake the lighthouse’s foundation and undead emerge from the darkness, unexpected secrets from an entangled past come to light.

With outstanding performances from O’Neill, Riley and Wells, Cooper captures the sense of bleak and haunting dread that is perfect for a film based on a story written by Poe. O’Neill and Riley give respectable performances portraying a downward spiral into madness while Wells seemingly embodies the dark and solemn persona of the classic writer himself. With a well-developed plot, a layered story and a twist that brings everything full-circle, Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper is a great reflection of the legendary writer’s final days. While this feature may not be for everyone, Poe fans will find this film alluring and intriguing as it lingers in their minds for nights to come. For those who have Amazon Prime, you can feed your curiosity by viewing this feature on Amazon VOD.

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