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5/5 stars

In 2022, Jane Schoenbrun set the indie film world on fire with her bold debut We all go to the World Exhibitiona scary modern horror film that has been etched in my mind like a recurring nightmare ever since I saw it. Your new film I saw the TV light up covers similar territory of parasocial relationships and our unique experiences with the media we consume, but with a much more confident and stylistic touch. The film is one of the best-made and most interesting statements about the horror of dysphoria and the comforting prison of nostalgia, and cements Schoenbrun’s place as one of the most exciting independent filmmakers working today.

In the mid-1990s, Owen (Ian Foreman) is a lonely boy trying to make it through life in the suburbs. Things change for him when a classmate named Maddy (Brigette Lundy-Paine) introduces him to a late-night television show for young adults called The pink opaque. They become more and more obsessed with the show until one day Maddy disappears. Years later, Maddy reappears at Owen’s (now played by Justice Smith) home and reveals to him that she lived in the show. Owen learns that he and his friend may have a deeper connection to The pink opaque than he originally thought…or is he just imagining it all?

Where We all go to the World Exhibition was firmly rooted in the anxieties and worries of Generation Z, and this film does the same for the millennial generation, perfectly recreating the joys of tape trading and the exhilaration of staying up late to watch a show that might be too intense for you. We even get a few cameos from TV stars that ’90s kids will love, but that feeling becomes a double-edged sword when their characters get too engrossed in the show. Of course, the film does an even better job of portraying the sheer existential terror of gender dysphoria. The final scenes are a terrifying montage for anyone who has ever felt trapped in their own body or societal expectations (something Schoenbrun no doubt knows all too well). These final scenes elevate the film from a masterfully crafted genre film to a true horror masterpiece, and possibly one of the most important films of our time. I saw the TV light up is currently playing in selected cinemas.
Written and directed by Jane Schoenbrun // Cast: Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Ian Foreman, Helena Howard, Lindsey Jordan, Connor O’Malley, Emma Portner, Madaline Riley, Amber Benson, Albert Birney, Michael C. Maronna, Danny Tamberelli, Danielle Deadwyler and Fred Durst // 100 minutes // Age rating: PG-13

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