REVIEW: Tilman Singer’s Luz is a hypnotic throwback to the horror stylings of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento.


You never forget your first love applies to hosts of demonic possession and their keeper in this mesmerizing minimalist horror film with shades of Suspiria, The Beyond, and Exorcist 2: The Heretic in its DNA.

For fans of the golden age of Italian horror, it is not too hard to name Dario Argento’s Suspiria or Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond as essential views on the subject. Suspiria’s almost hypnotic power stems from its minimal plotline and the vulgar and otherworldly state the driving and primal score by Goblin places the viewer in. The Beyond is a weird fever dream of a film, dealing with ghosts, otherworldly possession and the power that it will exert over the living. First time director Tilman Singer invokes both these classics in his debut film Luz, a meditation on the fevered obsession an unrequited longing can create, even if it is between a demon and its former host.

Luz starts off with its namesake character bringing herself to a run-down police station, having been thrown from her cab by her passenger and one-time friend Nora Vanderkurt (Julia Riedler). In a run-down bar, Nora tries to chat up a psychiatrist named Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt), by engaging her with the story of her troubled friend Luz (Luana Velis), a rebellious girl she met as a teenager growing up at a Catholic boarding school in Chile. Nora tells Dr. Rossini about her experiences with Luz growing up, how she convinced her to summon a demon and how their school shut down after a mysterious illness. Before long, the audience becomes aware that Nora is a bit aggressive in her telling and wanting Dr. Rossini to look into Luz. Luz, whose past is murky, and who is susceptible to reliving her past through the brand of hypnosis that Rossini is capable of inducing.

Without revealing too much, Luz’ unique flavor is heavily influenced by the German minimalism of Rainer Werner Fassbender by way of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. The retro but timeless look the 16mm stock gives the film invokes not only Fassbender’s films but Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 Suspiria remake. The haunting primal score of the film reminds you of Argento’s Suspiria, with our view to Luz’ childhood invoking Mother of Tears and Suspiria’s school scenes. There’s a murky fog and the possession of side characters remind one of Fulci’s Beyond. But Singer’s vision is fairly unique. It takes these diverse elements and makes a compelling suspense/possession film that invokes the ideas behind films like The Hidden and Exorcist 2 but makes them come alive in a very unique way and voice.

If you’re looking for a unique horror film that will make you think and draw you in, check out Luz and see if the film’s seductive tone can take you.