‘The Lighthouse’ Is a Dark, Flatulent, Wholly Original Masterwork

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Back in 2015, American director Robert Eggers scared and impressed audiences with his feature debut The Witch, a slow-burning horror film about a young girl in the 1630s who may or may not be the cause of a series of maleficent incidents. There, suspense was generated mostly by playing with audience expectations. but the subtext was strong too. The film arguably launched the resurgence of a kind of art-house genre film (including Ari Aster’s 2018 Hereditary) billed as “elevated horror,” more of a marketing than a technical term. Four years later, Eggers returns with The Lighthouse, premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival, and the wait turns out to have been worth it.