Monday, March 1, 2021

The Vigil - Movie Review

The Movie: The Vigil

The Director: Keith Thomas

The Cast: Dave Davis, Malky Goldman, Menashe Lustig, Lynn Cohen

The Story: A man providing overnight watch to a deceased member of his former Orthodox Jewish community finds himself opposite a malevolent entity, in writer-director Keith Thomas' electrifying feature debut.

The Review:
I honestly don't know if I have seen a movie that goes deep into Jewish customs and traditions to pull out a horror story so for me it was pretty effective just because of the unknown. It's nice to have some original storytelling concepts especially in a genre that can at times be sorely lacking. Director Keith Thomas takes a deliberate approach to the storytelling and creates a very slow burn build up that increases in intensity as the movie rolls along which is quite effective. The dark atmosphere inside the house is very creepy and leaves lots of ways for stuff to potentially pop out, a device which is used very sparingly so its effectiveness stays intact.

Dave Davis plays Yakov Ronen, a man who has stepped away from his faith for various reasons and so of course he's the perfect person to fill a spot in a traditional ritual of watching over a dead body to keep it safe from demons and such. After all of the necessary set up and introductions, Davis becomes a one man show for the most part and it's basically him performing against the darkness. Thomas finds a couple interesting way to mix in some smart phone tech into the scares and tension otherwise this is a pretty traditional creepy and unnerving type of movie. There aren't a ton of jump scares, it's more about the build up to those moments and Davis does a great job maintaining a believable story arc for his character through all of it.

The Verdict:
The Vigil is a dark and unnerving Jewish horror movie that works really well for what it sets out to accomplish and is a solid debut feature for writer and director Keith Thomas.

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