In LIGHT FROM THE LIGHT (2019), a single mom and part-time paranormal investigator is contacted by a clergyman attempting to help a widower who believes his wife may be haunting his house. I went into this thinking I’d be watching a fairly rote and conventional horror film but discovered instead something far more thoughtful, a really nice surprise.
Sheila is treading water, working at a car-rental service counter. She raises a teenage son Owen, who may soon be leaving the nest and is considering the practicality of starting a relationship with Lucy, who will soon be going to college. Sheila moonlights as a paranormal investigator, where she appears to have a deep hope of finding evidence that there’s more to existence than one’s physical life. A priest contacts her and asks her to help Richard, a widower still in deep, quiet mourning and who believes his wife may be haunting his farmhouse.
I liked this one quite a bit once I had its number. The main thing is the paranormal aspect is interesting, but it’s not the main event. It’s really a metaphor for the search for something that isn’t certain to end and therefore won’t be ultimately disappointing and impose regret. The direction and script do a wonderful job revealing the theme gradually so that by the end, a ton of metaphor slowly reveals in the viewer’s mind without it being shoved in their face. Everything about the film is understated, and it offers a pensive rather than heavy-handed or terrifying existentialism, more about the choices we make and what matters, and renewing the will to risk again despite regret and knowing how it will likely end.
Despite the film’s rough indie edges, it has a nice raw quality, an organic feel. Even when the acting gets a little rough, the actors appear comfortable in their own skin. The ending has a nice payoff that brings it all together.
Overall, a surprisingly enjoyable film about grief and hope.