• Name: The Vigil
• Year: 2019
• Country: USA
• Director: Keith Thomas
• Main cast: Dave Davis, Menashe Lustig, Malky Goldman
• Runtime: 88 minutes
• Production company: BoulderLight Pictures
• Trailer not available
Well, at least I learned something new… Did you know in the Orthodox Jewish community it is common to practice the watching over the body of a deceased person belonging to the congregation? That person is called a shomer, and it’s actually a job, a paid service. Weird, uh? I had no idea about that, but now after watching The Vigil (2019), I can consider myself a little bit wiser about religion and culture.
In fact, that was pretty much the only positive thing I could get from the movie, that little piece of knowledge. And I am not a very religious person, we must say, so I have to admit I spent a quite dull hour and a half watching the movie as part of the line-up of the Sitges Film Festival.
The Vigil (2019) centers Yakov, a young man, short on both faith and funds, living in Brooklyn who gets offered a proposition that he cannot refuse, at least economically. With the only company of the old and senile widow, Yakov is set to spend the night watching over the recently deceased corpse of a big member in the town’s Jewish community. First, he is reluctant, but the paycheck is good. And here is where all his nightmares start. His and ours.
The movie is a collection of supernatural horror movie cliches, a list of frights almost randomly set, in a plot that it’s pretty impossible to succumb into. And not only because of the cultural and religious background of the plot, but that is also almost anecdotal when the supernatural shit starts to take place. Scary only because of the sound effects, and dark illumination and cinematography, replacing a lack of talent with the absence of light, the movie is pretty unsubstantial along all its running time. Both when the main character is introduced as a misfit in the community, or when the spirits are playing tricks on him.
Keith Thomas debuts as writer and director of The Vigil (2019) and his choice was to use a not very popular ritual for the big masses, although I believe it could be a common practice in the most orthodox environments, as an excuse to display all the tricks we are so tired to see in so many forgettable horror movies. Playing with the mind of the spectator is always welcome, but I didn’t like to be treated as a fool. I expected a solid story, but I got superficial dullness. It was uninspirational to watch.
My words might sound severe, I suppose it’s because of the rush of the moment and still had in my mind the boring time spent. But the movie is watchable. It might be plain and unsubstantial, but we all have seen worse. Maybe better luck next time.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt10793644
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