Dark Beacon is a surprisingly glossy horror thriller hailing from up and coming director Corrie Greenop and written by Greenop and Lee Apsey. The film is nicely shot and well-acted to the point that it’s difficult to know whether they made great use of a tiny budget or simply had more money than these sorts of films usually do to begin with.
April Pearson, perhaps best known for her role in Skins, plays Amy Wilcock, who is in love with Beth Gadsby (Lynne Anne Rodgers). Beth is married to Christian (Toby Osmond), who dies, leaving her a single mother, distraught to the point that she becomes a recluse in a remote lighthouse with her child.
Amy tracks Beth down to find her being haunted by the vengeful spirit of her husband, and what follows is a fairly conventional ghost story.
The film makes wonderful use of a great location. It seems as though those involved understood that an isolated horror film set in a lighthouse would largely live and die on the strength of the visuals portraying its cold, lonely setting and the grim, desolate, craggy coast that make up its surroundings.
It’s a shame, then, that Dark Beacon ultimately manages to be so utterly uninspired and dull. It’s honestly quite remarkable that someone could take such a simple, seemingly difficult to ruin premise, combine it with production values as good as those on show here and produce an end product so upsettingly boring. Dark Beacon completely fails to engage with the viewer from the off-set and doesn’t leave anything resembling an impression.
Other than the production values, the film wastes a good cast. Pearson and Gadsby do an admirable job working with the material that they’re given and attempting to carry the vast majority of the film on their own - not to mention child actor, Kendra Mei, making her screen debut here. You can’t help but shake the feeling that everyone involved in the production deserved it to be better than the end result is.
It’d be easy to point to a complete lack of new ideas or original premise as being the reason for Dark Beacon’s intense blandness, but there’s always room for new takes on the same old haunted house set-up that we’ve seen time and time again. Blumhouse Productions is an incredibly successful company built on the notion that ghost stories need not be unique so long as they’re told well and with style.
Dark Beacon’s direction is superficially accomplished, but completely lacking in any heart or soul. Being as tedious a viewing experience as it is, the film’s biggest sin is that it manages to be so much less than the sum of its parts.
DARK BEACON / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: COZ (CORRIE) GREENOP / SCREENPLAY: LEE APSEY, COZ GREENOP / STARRING: APRIL PEARSON, JON CAMPLING, LYNNE ANNE RODGERS, TOBY OSMOND / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 27TH (VOD)