Sundance 2019: Light from Light

Marin Ireland and Jim Gaffigan appear in Light From Light by Paul Harrill, an official selection of the NEXT program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Greta Zozula.

The important thing to know going into Light From Light is that it is not a horror movie despite the fact that a character is a paranormal investigator.

Sheila (Marin Ireland) has been having dreams since she was a child.  These dreams aren’t just any ordinary dreams as she is sometimes able to see the future.  Sheila works behind the counter at a car rental service by day while also working as a paranormal investigator.  She’s no longer working with her team when Father Martin (David Cale) gets in touch about a member of his church.

It just so happens that Richard (Jim Gaffigan) is under the belief that he’s being haunted by his late wife.  While Sheila decides to take on the case, she’s going to need to borrow equipment from her former colleagues.  This sort of investigation isn’t something that is easy.  In fact, it’s a lot more high-tech than one would think.  Her son, Owen (Josh Wiggins), and his friend, Lucy (Atheena Frizzell), help Sheila out with the case.

One thing to note about Light From Light is that the film is a showcase for comedian Jim Gaffigan.  While he’s better known for his comedy, the comedian is starting to take a dramatic turn.  The film is an excellent showcase in that regard because the actor has little-to-no material that would qualify as comedy.  I’ll have more about his performance in Them That Follow soon.

Writer-director Paul Harrill certainly knows his craft when it comes to the subject.  One can tell that a lot of care and research that went into this film.  It’s less of a horror film than it is a strong drama.  Again, if you’re expecting an all-out horror film, you’re going to be very disappointed.  This isn’t to say that there aren’t any scary moments because there definitely are.  Well, at least for those of us who are prone to scare easily!  Given the content subject at hand, it doesn’t take much.

I cannot stress enough just how important it is to go into this film with lesser expectations.  I went into the screening with the idea that it would be a scary film.  Granted, I’m one to scare rather easily but that’s beside the case.  I’m not necessarily one who tends to watch horror films so the film’s synopsis did scare me away to an extent.

Light From Light may not be an all-out horror thriller but there’s a strong drama at the film’s core.

CAST:  Marin Ireland, Jim Gaffigan, Josh Wiggins, Atheena Frizzell, David Cale

Light From Light premiered during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the NEXT section. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.