Luz @ Fantasia Film Festival

Different is good. Especially in today’s world of film in which sequels seem to be de rigeur or another Avenger film coming out each year. We should applaud filmmakers who go out on a limb trying to bring us fresh new stories and ways of telling them. This can be said about director Tilman Singer’s (first feature film) eerie take on demonic possession. Demonic possession is a subject that tends to capture your attention. He had it and never really lost it, but mostly because I found myself scratching my head in wonderment…and confusion.

The story is rather obtuse with from what I could gather a demon jumps from human body to human body leaving a trail of blood and destruction along the way. A woman (Luana Velis) who works as a cab driver walks into a police station. She has cuts all over her face indicating she has been through something. Soon she is in an interrogation room where there is detective Bertillon ((Nadja Stubiger) and translator Olarte (Johannes Benecke) and a psychiatrist Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt). Dr. Rossini, who has previously in a bar met up with a friend of Luz’s Nora (Julia Riedler), hypnotizes Luz in order to find out what happened to her in her cab that evening. As the story unfolds we begin to understand how Luz and Nora know each other.

With its retro look (was filmed on 16 mm), Luz pays homage to films of the 70s and 80s. He does this without falling back on cliches or copying what has come before. Singer forges forward creating his own version of this particular horror genre.

Despite all the originality the intrigue and ambiguity all wore off very quickly. After the initial scene in the bar (which were super cool) and when Luz walks into the police station standing there very silently, I was just confused. The rest of the film just kinda happened without really drawing me in or engaging me in the least. Too much work was involved. I found myself using all my mental energy trying to figure out what was happening rather than enjoying or relating to it. It is not because things were not really explained rather because the vagueness did not allow me to connect with anything going on.

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