There is nothing more iconic in genre horror films than the subject of demonic possession. Back in the seventies, religious sensibilities to its depiction in film were almost a part of the tagline. Even in the eighties, there was the regular “fun” horror films of FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET which were just teenage movies. But to go into the theatre to watch something like THE EXORCIST was just asking for trouble.
Luz is not just asking for trouble, it’s doing it in a seventies’ arthouse vibe with static wide shots and long takes. I felt this film pulling me in a long time before I knew what it wanted to say. Director Tilman Singer has chosen to film on 16mm Scope making this a part rather than a homage to the arthouse horror sub-genre. The effect is mesmerizing and fascinating enough to keep you glued to the screen.
A taxi driver named Luz (Luana Velis) steps into an office building with a waiting room. We’ll later find out it’s a police station. She’s spouting phrases in Spanish and German and reciting a prayer mixed with sexual insults that makes it sound like a blasphemous incantation. On a different setting, we see a bar where a doctor Rossini (Jan Bluthardt) is on the receiving end of an obvious seduction attempt by a woman by the name of Nora (Julia Riedler).
Part of the story has already happened and remains to be discovered. Part will happen as we move forward. Yes, it’s non-linear storytelling at its finest, this time unconnected and jarring but still, fascinating. Luz is hypnotized reveal the events that passed in one of my favorite parts of the film. Seeing Luz act out her day driving a cab was the best thing ever. Rather than immediately going to a flashback, we get all the sound ambiance with Luz acting it all out although she’s just sitting in a chair in the middle of the room.
Extremely recommended with small reservations. If you are a Spanish speaker, you’re either going to get an extra kick out of the dirty version of the Our Father prayer or it might hurt your religious sensibilities. It might even do both at once which turns this reservation into a sort of bonus. The other one is going to sound pretentious, but if you’re just looking for run-of-the-mill horror you might want to try elsewhere. The casual movie goer that might love the usual teenage horror film might grow frustrated with this movie’s style of storytelling if all they’re expecting is a shock. It all depends if you want to be scared or charmed.
That will do for now.