Luz (2019)


Direction: Tilman Singer
Country: Germany

Luz, the debut feature from German writer/director Tilman Singer is a psychological horror movie, not too gory, not too stuffed, and holding a steady grip throughout. The filmmaking style deserves praise, especially if we take into account the minimalism of the story and its schematic course. However, its characters are thinly sketched.

Simon Waskow’s score has already announced some creepiness during the initial long shot. The story takes place in Germany and the worried moves of Chilean cab driver Luz Carrara (Luana Velis) in a desolate police station anticipate something strange and uncontrollable. In fact, the blaspheming girl, who apparently doesn’t speak German, is about to be psychologically evaluated under the attentive supervision of cops Bertillon (Nadja Stübiger) and Olarte (Johannes Benecke). For that, they hire the services of Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt), an experienced psychiatrist and hypnotherapist who will try to find more about the traumatic past of the woman. What these dedicated agents of the law don’t suspect is that Luz’s former schoolmate, Nora Vanderkurt (Julia Riedler), had already been in contact with the imprudent doctor, passing the demon that has been possessing his body.


The tale draws its best moments from a bar scene where Nora approaches Rossini, but, suddenly, things decline as our attention shifts to the interrogation room, which becomes foggy, in a tacky attempt to intensify fear and claustrophobia. The truth emerges from the shadows but not convincingly.

Singer relies on simplistic yet well-composed images to create some titillation. Yet, the film never reaches those spine-chilling levels we all crave. If only the director had found the time to dig a better ending and engender better sequences to mere plot points with potential, maybe Luz could have been the surprise of the year within the limits of a saturated horror genre. Lamentably, it didn’t happen, but I would definitely select Singer as a director to watch in the future.