Masters of Horror 3: Robert Eggers

The Masters of Horror is a series of articles discussing the upcoming faces of the horror genre, and what makes them noteworthy and standout. Today’s subject needs no introduction; he is the A24 darling, the pride of Film Twitter he is, of course, Robert Eggers.
Of all the names in this series, Eggers has directed the least number of feature films, but the one he did direct, 2015’s The Witch, was such a chilling hit, that it put Eggers on everyone’s list of directors to keep an eye on.
Cut to 2019 and Eggers second film the Lighthouse has released images, at the time of writing, only and everyone in the horror and film community is already ablaze with intrigue. This illustrates just how utterly brilliant Eggers feature film debut was.
The Witch is a hard sell on many levels, for one thing, the characters talk in Old English which at times can be hard to understand, and secondly, the plot suffers from the same thing Aster’s is said to do, namely, being overly drawn out and boring.
However, if you get past this, you see it for the masterpiece it is and know how both of those complaints are invalid. The plot focuses on a family who is excommunicated from the church and is left to fend for themselves in the wilderness; while being stalked by the Devil Himself.
The events of the film are very intricate in that you need to pay attention to the smallest detail to be able to figure out quite what is going on; this lends the film to re-watching, as I have re-watched it at least four times learning something new every time. Furthermore, there is a beautiful juxtaposition of thoughts as you are left thinking is the family just going insane or, are there evil demonic forces at work. The atmosphere of the film is oppressive right from the start, with a building sense of dread that never leaves, only intensifies. The cast is superb, with each actor bringing something to the film in a meaningful way, even the three child actors in the movie are good, if a little hate-able, which is no small feat.
However, the breakout star of the film is Anya-Taylor Joy, who went on to be in Split and the as of yet unreleased New Mutants. Joy works so perfectly off the themes Eggers employs, such as the corruption of the youth and freedom through sin vs servitude through morality. Throughout the film, we see her character become more and more tempted to sin, as eventually she is forced into a situation where it is her only hope.
Eggers plasters religious allegories and metaphors throughout the film, which only serve to heighten this duality between good vs evil in the most well-thought-out way. With each character dying by the hand of their own deadly sin.
Eggers’ film is so utterly oppressive and enthralling that he easily deserves a place amongst the Master of Horror, and if his second feature film outing The Lighthouse can keep this same tone and effect then it could easily be one of the best horror films of the generation, possibly even up there with the Witch.
A final fact of note is that Eggers is working on a remake of the classic vampire film, Nosferatu which I couldn’t be more excited for, I can’t wait to see Eggers take and hopefully deconstruction of what is a vampire.

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