“I Saw the TV Glow” is not just a film; it’s a haunted whisper in the dark, a surreal journey into the abyss of television’s mesmerizing pull. Directed by Jane Schoenbrun, this 2023 indie horror explores the haunting effects of media consumption on young minds, intertwining horror with melancholic threads of coming-of-age tales. As we delve into the eerie corridors of this film, it becomes evident that Schoenbrun has crafted a narrative that is both a reflection and a warning about the spectral powers of the screen.

Plot Overview

The story centers around two teenagers, portrayed with unsettling authenticity by Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine. Their characters find solace and escape in each other’s company, especially from their disquieting home lives, and bond over a shared fascination with a sinister TV show. The line between reality and the eerie world of the television begins to blur, leading to a series of chilling incidents that hint at a darker, supernatural influence at play.

Themes and Execution

At its core, “I Saw the TV Glow” is a poignant study of isolation and the eerie companionship offered by media. The film skillfully uses horror elements to amplify the psychological impact of loneliness and the almost parasitic relationship between viewers and their screens. Schoenbrun uses a blend of nostalgic TV visuals and modern horror aesthetics to create a disorienting experience that is both familiar and utterly alienating.

The narrative is slow-burning, built more on an escalating sense of dread than on outright scares. This approach might not cater to all horror fans, but for those who appreciate atmospheric tension, it’s a masterclass in mood-setting. The horror is psychological, creeping under your skin with the quiet terror of what might happen next.


Justice Smith delivers a performance that is both subtle and deeply felt, capturing the internal turmoil of a young soul grappling with unseen demons. Brigette Lundy-Paine matches this intensity, bringing a palpable sense of foreboding and vulnerability to her role. Together, they anchor the film’s emotional core, making the audience care about their fates amidst the growing darkness.

Visuals and Soundtrack

Visually, the film is a melancholic love letter to horror aesthetics, with scenes bathed in the ghostly glow of television screens that almost act as a portal to another realm. The cinematography is intentional in its claustrophobic framing, enhancing the feeling of entrapment by the spectral glow of the TV.

The soundtrack deserves a special mention, with its hauntingly beautiful score that intertwines perfectly with the film’s theme of eerie disconnection. It enhances the surreal, dream-like quality of the film, making “I Saw the TV Glow” not just a movie to be watched, but an experience to be felt.


“I Saw the TV Glow” is a standout in the indie horror scene, a film that combines existential dread with supernatural horror to reflect on modern media’s consuming effects. While it may tread slowly, its payoff is in the haunting impressions it leaves, ensuring that viewers will be pondering its depths long after the credits roll.

For fans of psychological horror and atmospheric storytelling, “I Saw the TV Glow” is a must-watch, a chilling reminder of the shadows cast by the flickering TV light.

Cast and Crew
Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine; directed by Jane Schoenbrun.