Between Willem Dafoe’s flatulence and Robert Pattinson’s mesmerizing portrayal, The Lighthouse is a glimpse into Edgar Allan Poe-tic madness. Sophomore filmmaker Robert Eggers (The Witch) offers audiences the chance to experience a man’s descent into psychosis with a beautifully shot black-and-white film, and it will surely spur some conversation.

When two “wickies” (lighthouse keepers) become stranded on a remote island in New England in the 1890s, things start to get weird. It’s almost like the two men are in some water-infested prison. Veteran lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Dafoe) and former lumberjack and wickie protégé, Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) both ooze machismo and self-reliance. Luckily, they are far more interesting than they sound on paper.

At times, when they are drunk and dancing to escape their depressing situation, they seem jovial — and seem like they’ll become intimate out of pure loneliness. But like roommates or brothers, the testosterone kicks in, and they get into some serious quarrels, too. Then, the abuse escalates from psychological to physical. Thomas’ vocabulary — especially when he is speaking down to Ephraim — is poetic and notable. It sounds like something straight out of an Edgar Allan Poe tale.  Perhaps, that particular vernacular resonated with Eggers when he directed and wrote a short film inspired by Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart in 2009. The big mystery in The Lighthouse: What is Thomas hiding at the top of the lighthouse?

As if these two insanely intense actors needed any help from the dialogue and hypnotic cinematography to make this feature captivating. The entire story could be told with just the sound, images, and their facial expressions. We’ve got Pattinson’s dramatic, expressive eyes, and Dafoe’s grimy gremlin grin with the haunting sound of a foghorn in the background all shot in dark tones.

Like he did in The Witch, Eggers leaves the audience wondering if there’s a supernatural threat or if the protagonist is just plain crazy. He vividly exposes audiences to the darkest corners of the human psyche in seclusion, without the comforts of civilization. It’s as raw as they get when it comes to fiction. From Pattinson jerking-off to hallucinations of mermaids, to Dafoe delivering dark, top-tier monologues in a haunting and condescending vernacular, seriously…watch out for these guys come awards season.

The film runs just shy of two hours and falls somewhere between a comedy and macabre horror with tidbits of drama- depending on the audience.  Honestly, moviegoers can really take what they want because there’s just so much good here. It’s poetic. It’s art at its highest form. Eggers and the talent brought the goods and with that the ambiguity.

While it’s unclear how audiences will react to this hybrid very dark comedy, but two things are evident: The Lighthouse clearly moves Pattinson from teen heartthrob to a real movie star and tremendously bumps up Eggers’ street cred as a filmmaker.