Quick Review: Luz

Luz, an indie horror effort from Germany, is probably only for the most dedicated horror fans. It's an impressive debut, however.

Photo courtesy Yellow Veil Pictures

Luz, a vibrant and shocking horror film from young director Tilman Singer, is so dark and sinister that I briefly contemplated whether it might actually be cursed.

It’s not. (Probably.) But it manages a stunning sort of nightmare cohesion; this movie operates not by the logic of narrative, but by the rhythms and meanings of a terrible, lingering dream. It makes very little sense, by design, and flirts with absurdity. It’s more objet d’art than proper feature. Still — especially for horror fans looking for something raw and defiant — it’s worth a look.

Luz (Luana Velis) is a cab driver and a former resident of a Chilean school for girls. While there, she may or may not have conjured a demon that may or may not have taken possession of a pregnant classmate. A mysterious, seductive stranger (Julia Riedler) is after Luz, as are investigators led by an unwitting doctor (Jan Bluthardt).

Any recounting of the plot beyond that would quickly descend into nonsense — a line that the film itself walks, often teetering but never falling. Much of the story, such as it is, is told in flashback during an interrogation that quickly tilts into a supernatural cornucopia, with the boundary between memory and reality serving utterly absent.

Luz, which was conceived as a student film, is too short (a rare feat in an era of runtime bloat); its credits roll before the 70-minute mark. By the time Singer truly manages to hypnotize you, it’s time to head for the exit. It’s terrifying intensity will likely put off all but the most hale of viewers, but that’s hardly the point; Luz is an announcement of a top prospect in the genre. This effort isn’t quite essential, but Singer’s next film will be.

My Rating: 6/10

"Luz" continues through Thursday, August 8 at the Harris Theater.


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