Review: Luz

The classic horror film hasn’t entirely disappeared from the cinema landscape, but the current trend it to make more of it than just the easy jump out of your seat shriek-fest. Get Out, Suspria, and Hereditary have shown that there’s an audience for new kinds of horror. And Luz rides in on that wave with a minimalist demonic possession flick that takes place mostly in a police station.

The film opens with a very long take of a woman wandering into a nearly deserted office where a man sits behind a desk. He doesn’t acknowledge her and she limps over to get a drink from a machine. Then she approaches the man at the desk speaking in a language he can’t understand. It’s Spanish and she’s reciting a filthy take on the Lord’s prayer with lines like,”Our father, why art thou such a dick?” Then the action cuts to a bar with only two patrons. The woman Nora comes onto the man Dr. Rossini, a police psychotherapist, and before you know it they are getting sloppy drunk and high and she’s telling him about a girl she knew back in her days at Catholic school in Chile and their foray into the occult. And she wants his professional opinion on her friend. It’s all very weird but only gets weirder when they head to the bathroom where some kind of demonic transformation happens. And then the doctor’s pager goes off and he’s called to the station. And there he meets Luz, a cab driver from Chile who may have been possessed back when she and the woman from the bar were in school together. And once the doctor puts her into a hypnotic trance to find out what happened to bring her to the station, all hell breaks loose.

The film is in German and takes place in an unnamed German city. The era is maybe the late 70s or 80s what with the pager and a reel to reel tape player they’re using in the interrogation. The feel is all slightly off balance. The film’s minimalist shooting with smoke and mirrors, perfectly designed sound and music accompaniment, and a bizarre blasphemous Lord’s prayer mantra throughout leave you with more an experience than a coherent story. But it keeps your attention and at only 70 minutes it moves along at quite a clip leaving you sort of stunned at the end. So if that sounds like your kind of movie fun, go for it!

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