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Sightless film poster.png
Official release poster
Directed byCooper Karl
Screenplay byCooper Karl
Based onSightless
by Cooper Karl
Produced by
  • Kaila York
  • Rick Benattar
  • Nigel Thomas
  • Todd Y. Murata
CinematographyAndrew Jeric
Edited byDon Money
Music byPhillip Lober
Distributed byMarVista Entertainment
Release dates
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States

Sightless is a 2020 American psychological thriller[1] film written and directed by Cooper Karl, based on his 2017 short film of the same name. The film stars Madelaine Petsch and Alexander Koch.[2]

The film had its world premiere at Dances with Films Festival on September 2, 2020.[3] It was released digitally and on demand on September 29, 2020, by MarVista Entertainment.[4]


Following a brutal attack, child prodigy violinist Ellen Ashland (Madelaine Petsch) is left blind. She wakes up in a hospital as the doctor tells her that the attack caused her to lose her eyesight. The doctor tells her that her brother wants to talk to her on call, she attends the call and her brother informs her that an apartment has been arranged for her for safety purposes. And further tells her that a nurse has been hired for her named "Clayton" who will help her adjust to her new 'lifestyle'. Then she wakes up in the apartment and meets Clayton (Alexander Koch), the nurse who is hired to care for her as she begins to adjust to life without her sight. She often stands near her window, Clayton tells her that the window faces east coast site as she can feel the wind and hear the traffic down the building. One night, Ellen hears a distressed woman's voice; she initially believes the woman is in her apartment but then realises the noise is coming through the vent. The following morning, she goes next door and puts up a sticky note on her neighbor's door asking her to join for tea. Later that day, her neighbour shows up and introduces herself as Lana. As conversation goes on, Ellen grows suspicious of Lana as she seems scared to talk. Lana tries to leave Ellen's apartment but in an attempt to stop her she touches Lana's face, she feels a wound with stitches and is alarmed. Lana reacts by whispering to Ellen "trust no one" and then flees Ellen's apartment upon the arrival of her abusive husband, Russo. Ellen contacts Detective Bryce who sends Officer Neiman to check on Lana; he confirms she is okay and does not have any recent wounds. Ellen expresses her concerns to Clayton but he tells her that he has met her on her way in and she seems unhinged and she shouldn't worry about her. Later that day she is standing near her door when she hears footsteps at first she thinks it's Lana and begins to apologise to her for the misunderstanding but realises it's Russo and rushes back to her apartment. Russo follows her and warns her to stay away from her wife and he would be talking to the building management about her. A few moments later Clayton enters and a frantic Ellen tells him that Russo has threatened her, Clayton feeling angry and protective tries to go talk to Russo but Ellen stops him. She calms him down and then Clayton hints that he has feelings for her, but when he confesses this, she turns him down. Clayton feeling rejected, leaves the apartment. She hears the keys jingle and someone enters the apartment, thinking its Clayton she begins to apologise but the person attacks Ellen. She hears the breathing pattern and it's the same as the one who attacked her in the parking lot. She manages to dial 911 before she passes out. She is awaken by a paramedic and a worried Clayton who informs her that Det. Bryce is here to see her. Detective Bryce reassures her that after Clayton left her apartment, nobody else entered. Detective Bryce confirms to Ellen that her friend Sasha, who was having an affair with Ellen's ex-husband, is the prime suspect in Ellen's attack. Feeling alone and unsure of anyone, Ellen decides to commit suicide. She writes letters to her brother, Sasha, and Clayton, and then jumps from her apartment balcony.

Ellen wakes up on the floor of a soundproof room and quickly realises the apartment she was staying in was fake, and all of the noises "outside" were coming from a speaker system. She explores the hallway only to find she cannot escape. Ellen finds Lana in the hallway and invites her back to her apartment to ask Lana for help, asking about the place thy are living in, telling her that she knows they are being watched, Lana tells her that this is home. And flees before answering anymore questions.

Clayton then arrives to cook Ellen dinner and knocks on the wood two times, and at that moment  she realises all of the people she has interacted with since her attack - the doctors, the detective, the paramedic, Russo - were all Clayton, dressed up differently since she had heard them knocking on any surface twice. Ellen knocks Clayton unconscious and finds Lana who reveals she is Clayton's sister and she helped him kidnap Ellen. She then tells Ellen their only hope of escape is by using the hidden vent in Clayton's room.

Clayton finds and once again captures Ellen. He confesses that after his mother's death, his father kept him captive in the basement for three years, during which time Lana played Ellen's music for him, thus resulting in his obsession. Ellen tries to escape via the vent and finds a vial, which she realises is the same substance that was used in her attack that made her lose her sight. She finds her way back to her apartment, chased by Clayton, and sprays the substance in his face. Upon seeing Clayton disabled, Lana guides Ellen to an exit into the outside world.

Six months later, Ellen prepares to go on stage to the sound of an elated crowd, as an assistant asks her if she needs any help.



Principal photography on the film began in late May and ended on May 31, 2019.[2][5]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Sightless holds an approval rating of 40% based on five reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10.[6] From Ready Set Cut, Jonathon Wilson gave the film two stars out of five, criticizing it for its predictable twist, calling it "a drab", and summarizing it as "the kind of film that has been sat on a shelf for a while for reasons that are entirely understandable".[7] Johnny Loftus, giving his review from Decider, compared the film and its ending to Wait Until Dark (1967) and Shutter Island (2010), and recommended readers to watch it online.[8] Writing for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a journalist gave the film three stars and a half out of five, and said that "Sightless ticks the boxes for [...] an over-the-top thriller that is not afraid to ramp things up to eleven, its manic climax just one of its many enjoyable charms."[9]


  1. ^ Hopewell, John (January 23, 2020). "Particular Crowd, MarVista Set 10-Plus Movies a Year Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b N'Duka, Amanda (May 14, 2019). "'Riverdale's Madelaine Petsch To Star In Indie Thriller 'Sightless'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "Sightless". Dances with Films. Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  4. ^ MarVista Entertainment [@MarVistaEnt] (September 29, 2020). "The wait is finally over! #Sightless starring @madelainepetsch is now available on Digital HD and On Demand!" (Tweet). Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "Madelaine Petsch Wraps Filming on Sightless". Beautiful Ballad. June 1, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  6. ^ "Sightless". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  7. ^ Wilson, Jonathon (January 21, 2021). "Sightless review – a drab, predictable thriller you'd be better off not seeing". Ready Set Cut. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  8. ^ Loftus, Johnny (January 21, 2021). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Sightless' on Netflix, Where A Recently Blinded Woman Strives To See A Way Out Of Her Predicament". Decider. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  9. ^ Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra (January 26, 2021). "Alex's Reviews: My Salinger Year, Shadow in the Cloud, Sightless". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved February 17, 2021.

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