Friday 9 March 2018

Dark Beacon

d. Corrie Greenop; w. Lee Apsey, Corrie Greenop; p. Lee Apsey, Corrie Greenop, Tansi Inayat; cast: April Pearson, Lynne Anne Rodgers, Kendra Mei, Toby Osmond, Jon Campling, Jimmy Allen

Greenop’s second feature has much in common with his debut Wandering Rose (aka Demon Baby): limited cast, stunning locations, a studied avoidance of cliché, and an undeniable air of tension that builds throughout towards an explosive climax. Single mother Beth is raising her mute daughter Maya (a staggeringly mature performance by Mei) in an isolated lighthouse. Her former colleague and lover Amy tracks them down, seeking answers to Beth’s sudden disappearance. There’s a shadowy figure out on the rocks: is it Beth’s not-so-late husband, or his ghost, or some other threat, or something innocent? The script and direction are both subtle without being understated, gradually revealing the character’s relationships and back-stories. Cinematographer Haider Zafar gets full mileage out of the Jersey location, abetted by some gorgeous drone shots. Fan favourite Campling, usually surrounded by vampires or zombies, has a rare chance to demonstrate his naturalistic acting in a fine cameo as a doctor.

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