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Lighthouse (1999)

Dead Of Night

The brightest light hides your darkest fear

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 91 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Rachel Shelley is Dr Kirsty McCloud, an academic criminal psychologist studying the murders of notorious serial killer Leo Rook (Christopher Adamson). When Rook is to be moved by ship to a secure island prison, she accompanies him on the journey. On the ship, she meets other prisoners who are also being moved, including Richard Spader (James Purefoy), a man convicted of killing his wife but who claims he is innocent.

When the ship runs aground in a storm and sinks, Kirsty and Richard are among the survivors who manage to make their way to a lighthouse on an isolated island. However, when they discover the headless bodies of the lighthouse keepers in a cupboard, they realise that Rook has arrived there ahead of them as he had secretly escaped from the ship even before the wreck. The small number of survivors, including both guards and prisoners, will have to band together to try to stay alive as Rook attempts to kill them off one by one.

Although not the best of its kind by any stretch of the imagination, the film does have some good points. Adamson's Rook is pretty creepy, not saying a word throughout the entire film, and staying largely in the shadows for most of it – it is only towards the end that it is really clear what he looks like. Shelley and Purefoy both make decent enough heroes, although the 'Spader is innocent' sub-plot is neither successfully explored nor satisfactorily concluded by the end of the film. The lighthouse does make for an atmospheric location, although this film is far from being the first to recognise the horror potential inherent in these isolated structures. The killing could certainly be done with more inventiveness, although the scene where one of the prison officers is in the toilet trying to avoid the attention of the killer is full of suspense and very well done.

This film was released on video in the US under the title 'Dead of Night'.

It's Got: Sound performances from Purefoy and Shelley.

It Needs: More inventiveness on the part of the killer.

DVD Extras Nothing to write home about. Extras: Trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


This is a workmanlike slasher film with a fair amount of blood and guts, a creepy killer, some atmosphere, and decent use of its location, but without that something special to make it really stand out.