LUZ – Review by Maitland McDonagh

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Short and the farthest thing from sweet, German director/writer/editor Tillman Singer’s shot-on-16mm Luz (“light” in Spanish; the film is in Spanish and German) is a sweet little slow-burn of a horror movie about a young, Chilean-born, German-based taxi driver (Luana Velis) who’s had a close encounter of the very wrong kind with a demon.

On Luz’s side: Detectives Bertillon and Olarte (Nadja Stübiger and Johannes Benecke), and high-cheekboned/high-strung consulting psychiatrist- psychologist Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt) and enigmatic, coke-snorting Nora (Julia Riedler), who chats him up at a small-town bar.

Set for no apparent reason in the 1980s (to judge by the jurassic technology, which includes beepers and pagers), Luz is a sleepy, creepy slow burn that—like oh-so-many films about demonic possession—lives in the twilight zone of adolescent sexuality, a sleepy wasteland that breeds monsters of every shape and form. And like so many films whose origin lie in relationships between adolescent girls, Luz is rooted in the primordial horror of female sexuality that stops short of blaming female problems for all the troubles of the world.

Luz is a tight, sharp little shocker that works well on its own term and suggests that Singer is a filmmaker to watch.

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Maitland McDonagh

Formerly TVGuide.com's senior movies editor/reviewer, Maitland McDonagh now has her own site, Miss FlickChick.com, and freelances for Film Comment, Time Out NY and other publications. She has written four books -- Broken Mirrors Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento, Filmmaking on the Fringe, The 50 Most Erotic Films of All Time and Movie Lust -- and contributed to many others, including Film Out of Bounds, Fantasy Females, The Last Great American Picture Show and Exile Cinema. Read McDonagh's recent artilces below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Maitland McDonagh" into the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).