“LUZ”— A Horror Film


A Horror Film

Amos Lassen

In “Luz”, Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt)  a police psychologist meets and flirts with Nora Vanderkurt (Julia Riedler) at a bar. Nora is possessed by a demon and was a passenger in the cab of Luz (Luana Velis), her former schoolmate. Luz crashes her cab after picking up Nora and then goes to a police station where Dr. Rossini interrogates her. 

This is a bold, horror film written and directed Tilman Singer. The plot becomes increasingly bizarre and preposterous as it subverts preconceived notions of genre. The lighting and camerawork are stylish and intriguing. Shot on 16mm and with a hypnotic synth-driven score, the film pays homage to Euro Horror films. Director Singer smartly avoids the usual clichés for demonic possession films.

Boyish looking woman Luz, an émigré from Chile, works as a female cabbie in an unnamed German city. We first see her on a rainy night and she is bloodied from an accident. She is walking quickly into a run-down police station, but is ignored until she starts screaming at the desk receptionist. While Luz is speaking about the crash to two indifferent detectives, who are unable to respond in her, the police psychologist Dr. Rossini is at a bar on the other side of town where is being seduced by the only woman in the place, Nora  who happens to be Luz’s old schoolmate from Chile and who was a passenger in Luz’s cab during the accident or maybe wasn’t. She mentions that Luz was obsessed with the occult while they were together at school in Chile. In some unexplained way, a strange transference occurs between Nora and the doctor. She seems to knows that Rossini is about to get a call from the police station to evaluate Luz. 

Rossini, even though drunk, interviews Luz, who speaks in a disembodied voice that doesn’t feel like her own. Rossini uses hypnosis on her and she relives the evening’s events in the presence of Commissioner Bertillon (Nadja Stübiger) and the Spanish translator Olarte (Johannes Benecke). 

The film is totally ambiguous. It is built around this off-beat interview and the presence of an evil force in the room. Things dramatically change at a moment’s notice confusing the viewer who has to figure out what is happening on his own. I can’t give you more details because this is a film that must be experienced.

The film is technically sound, stylish and well-acted. It is very watchable even if it doesn’t amount to much. It definitely is not for everyone.  Singer gives us a refreshing take on demonic possession an while some viewers will feel alienation, it is an interesting movie.

The setting, like the movie itself, is ambiguous. Various props reflect different periods in history. The cinematography is widescreen 16mm, grainy and dirt-speckled and the film looks like Italian giallos. The story takes place in two rooms (and one flashback elsewhere), and it is as if the outside world hardly seems to exist.

Rossini’s interrogation is far from ordinary— hypnosis plays a part as does some kind of transfer of spirits. It is clear that the action we see has something to do with Luz’s childhood interest in the occult. Rossini gets rather dramatically wrapped up in things, becoming different characters in the story while Luz appears passive. She isn’t. When the film ends, Luz seems to be just at the beginning of her frightening path.

Special Features include:

  • 2 Short Films by Tilman Singer.
  • New Interview with Director Tilman Singer.
  • International Teaser Trailer.
  • S. Theatrical Trailer.
  • Pull-out Poster.
  • Reversible Cover Art.

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