The Vigil (2019): A Review

28 Feb

-For the Uncensored!

I have discussed many things about horror, and how there are an abundance of remakes, especially Jordan Peele’s Candyman remake, and the unanimous lack of creativity films that inspire me creatively or enjoy watching. With Keith Thomas’s The Vigil (2019), produced by IFC Midnight studios, I was anticipating and dreading it. The trailer seemed to go in for the spookier aspects, but the finished product is not the trailer. They usually never are. The Vigil, it seems like it takes the best of all horror films, and seems to create within itself a coherent straight forward horror film that doesn’t belabor the point.

A young Hassidic man, Yakov Ronen (played by Dave Davis), who is struggling with paying rent, is offered a job by a Hassidic priest, Reb Shulem (Meanaha Lustig), to sit shomer, for a recently deceased man, Mr. Litvak. For those that don’t know, Shomers sit and wait with a body for five hours until the morgue comes to pick them up. As the young man starts to realize something is terribly wrong. I will say this is not a spoiler, but the majority of the film takes place in the house, and in the confined space of the Brooklyn apartment. As great horror movies do, they are a comforting aspect to the way we view the world. We have to fight personal demons, and if we don’t, we will be subsumed by them.

What the Mizzak proves is that it’s the first demon to usurp one’s entire life, Mr. Litvak, until it can find someone broken to be able to leech off of. I think the deliberate slowness might be a turn off depending that if you are expecting a thrill a second, but this film is deeply rooted in story and if you give it twenty minutes, it’s almost like being inside a meat grinder. It’s the first in a long time I ever felt consciously watching a film but being transfixed by the craft lovingly devoted to story telling and old school horror movie methodology. Conquering demons while releasing others from there torment.

It’s also worth noting that the creepiness of the film isn’t in the outright scares it produces, but the small intense moments where you can think something is there, but it isn’t. 

If Deliver Us from Evil (2014) is the Max Payne film we wanted, The Vigil (2019)  seems lovingly paced as it has more in common with Sixth Sense and the Exorcist, as it’s personal, but it’s a film that tells a single story in a complete hour and thirty minutes, that shows that horror films can be enjoyable and scary, and Keith Thomas’s The Vigil proves to be a film you hope never sees a sequel because there’s no way the Mizzak would come back. Not every great horror movie deserves a sequel. 

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, including, The Michael Project, The Michael Project: Book 2: The Lost Children of Eve, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/, and Parler https://parler.com/profile/therealLouistbruno/posts. Instagram @lbrruno8063 and @louisbrunoofficialbook. He has written for the Intellectual Conservative and Ephemere. His latest, Come Home, Young One, a dark fantasy novel is out now at Lulu.com. Link is here: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/louis-bruno/come-home-young-one/hardcover/product-pw8q7z.html?page=1&pageSize=4.

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