L. U. N. A.
25 Jan 2022
Roman Arabia & Mike Bane
Fernanda Romero, Lauren DeShane, Lauren Bair
Chilling and confronting, L. U. N. A. is a short film behaving like a snapshot in time as character and viewer explore an old house with secrets hidden in its depths. Protagonist Lillian’s job is to inspect an issue with a L. U. N. A. device within the house and, in the process, accidentally discovers far more than she bargained for.
The film itself has a ‘classic’ type of horror vibe to it, with the look and score reminiscent of series like Stranger Things in terms of the nostalgia that it creates. Technology aside, it feels almost old-timey to watch and the plot certainly fits this structure. Arguably, the best horror stories are the ones that keep the story simple and timeless and, as Lillian enters the creepy old house, tension is built very effectively and creates equal measures of fear and intrigue.
When inside, Lillian meets an unassuming couple, Jamie and Sarah, who inherited the house from Sarah’s great-grandfather. They seem like a really friendly and loving couple, which is refreshing as it is always great to see positive queer representation especially in a genre like horror. The three women have great chemistry with each other, as they seek to discover the mystery of the L. U. N. A. device, and make the content of the film equally believable and terrifying through their performance.
L. U. N. A. behaves like the fourth character in the piece as it is like a virtual technology assistant. Jamie and Sarah are both convinced that it is spookily speaking to them in Spanish without being prompted. Luckily for them, Lillian is able to act as translator and help uncover the deep unsettling aspects of the house. This idea makes the story memorable as it begs the question concerning if people should be so reliant on technology. In this instance, the device makes the women question if maybe it has its own agenda. As the film plays out, the viewer begins to question this too.
Camera work around the house is excellent and observes its contents carefully and creepily without being too invasive. It does this with several tracking shots surrounding the house and therefore making it feel really three-dimensional. This compares with the different – and not always upright – angles used in the interior scenes to help to build suspense well, along with plenty of red imagery to make viewing all the more intense. Including these types of shots with jump-scares adds another thrilling layer to viewing as Blake Vaz ensures that every aspect of the film is unexpected.
All things considered, L. U. N. A. feels like a film that is just beginning. It is a fantastic, well-written and adventurous watch, as well as containing some sinister moments that are unsettling, but intelligent.