On one rainy night, a Chilean cabbie named Luz (Luana Velis) walks into a police station. At the same time, across town, psychotherapist, Dr Rossini (Jan Bluthardt), is having a drink with Nora (Julia Riedler), a mysterious, curly-haired woman. When the doctor’s pager beeps and he heads to the station, all hell breaks loose. 

An 80s throwback tale of mystical powers and possession wrapped up in a 70-minute runtime, Luz is a remarkably accomplished debut from Tilman Singer, who wrote and directed the feature for his film school graduation project. 

Shot on 16mm, it has that irresistible graininess that only that kind of film can provide, and there are directorial flourishes that give the impression of a much more experienced filmmaker. Highlights include the lingering wide shots that open and close the piece, and visual trickery to reveal Nora at the bar. The use of hypnotism to reenact Luz’s night in her taxi – rear view mirror, chairs for car seats, miming a gear change – is a clever device, and a wonderfully meta method of storytelling with what must have been an extremely limited budget.

The dialogue is sharp and sinister at times, but leaves a lot open to interpretation – whilst it can be freeing to go along for the ride, it’s also frustrating at times to get a handle on what’s happening. Most impressive is the music; sliding strings and synthy beats are paired with frenetic drums, pounding to a gradual crescendo in the film’s most tense moments. 

Though it feels somewhat under-developed at times, Luz is a small-scale story that still manages to deliver tension, shocking moments and memorable horror imagery. The genre continues to be a strong first stop for fresh directorial talent, and this is a bloody, bizarre sign of what’s to come from Tilman Singer.


Available to watch on: VOD (1st June)


CAST: Luana Velis, Jan Bluthardt, Julia Riedler

DIRECTOR: Tilman Singer

WRITER: Tilman Singer

SYNOPSIS: A young taxi driver visits a police station, and is hypnotised to relive one traumatic night shift with bloody consequences.