Fantasia 2018 Review: “Luz” (2018) ★★★★★


Cinema is the perfect language to translate what we can barely express otherwise. For instance, it takes one specific premise and plays with it so flawlessly almost as if it’s a toy, in the best sense possible. That kind of translation of interpretation is important for the viewer to feel part of that universal language, to let themselves be immersed into it. But the whole problem is, with Tilman Singer’s “Luz”, you won’t even want to be stuck in that world as it may damage your nerve cell and absorb you in a way leaving no chance to escape. So it’s prudent to keep safe distance as you watch it. But on the other hand, how can you not stay so close when it’s so captivating and insane at the same time?

The film follows a taxi driver, Luz, who we already know is from Chile. She enters a police station to reveal what just happened to her. She hopes by doing that she can escape that demonic creature that tries to hunt her down. But the problem is, where there’s an entrance, there is always an exit as well. But what type of person she will become by the time she finally withdraws from the police station? Same as she was before or someone you don’t even want to stand next to? And that’s the juicy part of the film, oh, and super insane one too.

The opening credits are quite demonic themselves, when each time it takes a pause to introduce another credit, the haunting score slowly makes the viewer to enter Singer’s universe. Then it switches to the police station, where we see a man, rather a receptionist, sitting alone almost bored. But he still has something to do. When the door opens and Luz enters the station, he does not even notice her. But as you watch her, you realize she is obsessed with something. She does not look normal, but not creepy enough either to be afraid of her.

The next scene takes us to a local bar where Dr. Rossini seemingly is trying to finish his uneventful day by having a drink. A woman that sits a bit far quickly notices him. Her name is Nora, a woman who we are yet to learn of the purpose her presence is about to serve. As a good observer, she quickly notices a pager the man carries and figures that he might be a doctor. And he actually was, a consulting psychiatrist . As she begins her story of her interaction with Luz, the man becomes too obsessed with this, and when he was asked to help with the investigation involved with the same Luz you saw before, the aftermath will be absolutely mind-blowing.

Dark photography and exceptional cinematography makes Singer’s film an absolute treat to watch. To call it a fun ride will be underestimating it. It’s better than that. It’s surreal, crazy and absolutely hypnotizing. The premise of the use of psychology, investigation and hypnotism is pure masterpiece. And the performances delivered by the entire cast, I must admit, will be scary enough for you to ask yourself, is it for real or just fiction?

In conclusion, “Luz” is an excellent horror movie revolving around character-study. It’s atmospheric, dark and intelligent. As it tries to get deep into human mind, the director manages to study the human nature and the demonic presence with such subtlety, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the two. And the closing scene is what we all need to see in the movie, not for the happy ending, because both evil as well as good has equal chance of celebrating victory. But which one will that be is something I truly hope you will want to find out by watching it yourself.

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