What happens when the line between reality and TV becomes a little too blurred?

For two outcast teens played by Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in “I Saw the TV Glow,” a cult favorite horror series comes to life with haunting consequences. Writer/director Jane Schoenbrun‘s A24 feature was one of IndieWire’s must-see films at Sundance 2024 and landed a coveted “A” rating from IndieWire critic David Ehrlich.

The film, which homages everything from the eerie vibes of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: The Return” to late-night Nickelodeon ’90s television, follows teens who “bond over their shared love of a scary television show, but the boundary between TV and reality begins to blur after it is mysteriously canceled,” per the official synopsis.

Helena Howard, Lindsey Jordan, Phoebe Bridgers, Fred Durst, Danielle Deadwyler, and Sloppy Jane round out the cast.

Writer/director Schoenbrun’s feature debut “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” premiered at Sundance 2021 and was a breakout indie hit. Acclaimed out of the Premieres section at Sundance 2024, “I Saw the TV Glow” is produced by A24 and Emma Sone’s Fruit Tree banner along with Dave McCary and Ali Herting. Sarah Winshall with Smudge Films and Sam Intili also produce.

Schoenbrun previously opened up about her path to filmmaking with IndieWire, saying, “I kept finding that every screenplay I wrote was about trans shit. This was before I knew I was trans, which is ridiculous. The warning signs that the universe sends you are so loud, or that your subconscious sends you.”

She also helmed a Lucy Dacus music video in March 2023; Dacus and “I Saw the TV Glow” star Bridgers are both part of the band boygenius.

The IndieWire review for “I Saw the TV Glow” compared the sophomore feature to Gregg Araki, with critic Ehrlich writing that the movie was shot with the “ultra-vivid resolution of a recurring dream.”

The review reads, “It marries the queer radicality of a Gregg Araki film with the lush intoxication of a Gregory Crewdson photo, and finds Schoenbrun holding on to every inch of their vision as they make the leap from outsider artist to A24-stamped auteur. This is a movie that knows it will be seen (or was at least financed with that expectation), and yet, to an even greater degree than Schoenbrun’s debut, it’s also a movie about how the things people watch can have the power to see them in return. Even the parts of themselves they might be hiding from. Even the parts of themselves they aren’t ready to name yet.”

“I Saw the TV Glow” premieres May 3 in theaters from A24. Check out the trailer below.

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