The summer’s best trans horror movie I Saw the TV Glow finally gets UK release date

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in I Saw The TV Glow

Jane Schoenbrun’s horror drama I Saw the TV Glow, dubbed one of the best trans films in recent years, has finally got a UK cinema release date.

The critically acclaimed film, the second feature-length offering from trans filmmaker Schoenbrun, stars Jurassic World: Dominion‘s Justice Smith as Owen, a socially outcast teen who finds solace in sci-fi horror series The Pink Opaque.

He’s introduced to the show by his new queer friend Maddy, played by non-binary Bill & Ted Face the Music star Brigette Lundy-Paine, and slowly the series becomes his lifeline as he deals with his mother’s illness and his father’s less-than tolerant views.

When Maddy disappears and the show is cancelled after five seasons, Owen’s view of reality “begins to crack”.

Maddy later reappears in Owen’s adult life, claiming to have gone into the The Pink Opaque for real, leaving him questioning where he really belongs in life.

Now, two months after I Saw the TV Glow landed in US cinemas, it’s set to open in UK and Irish cinemas on 26 July.

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In one key moment in the film Owen alludes to something being “wrong” with his sexuality or identity, with many trans viewers in the US attributing this to a struggle with his gender.

Warning: Spoilers for I Saw the TV Glow follow.

Other trans viewers have picked up on scenes which also suggest Owen is trans, including ending where he cutd into his chest, to reveal TV static.

It’s an image some believe to be a metaphor for gender dysphoria. Plus, Schoenbrun confirmed that the ending depicts what they feel is a “truthful” representation of the pre-transition trans experience.

“To get Owen to a place of true self-love and self-acceptance would take at least another movie,” they told USA Today.

“I wanted it to be really honest that just because you’ve finally seen yourself clearly, [that] doesn’t mean half a lifetime of damage that repression has instilled in you is going to go away. The idea of being seemingly OK on the outside, but on the inside being this hollowed-out sack of static, felt like a nice way to talk about the pre-transition mind set.”

Earlier this year, Schoenbrun revealed the title and plot of their third feature film, Teenage Sex and Death at Camp Miasma.

Continuing a trend of putting LGBTQ+ themes on the big screen, the grisly story will follow a queer film director who becomes obsessed with casting the best actor for their horror film.

I Saw the TV Glow arrives in UK and Irish cinemas on 26 July.

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