DIRECTOR: keith thomas (debut)
STARRING: dave davis, menashe lustig, malky goldman and lynn cohen
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
A man providing overnight watch to a deceased member of his former Orthodox Jewish community finds himself opposite a malevolent entity.
Are you ready for the biggest religious scare since The Exorcist? Prepare to start your vigil...
In the Hasidic community of Boro Park, Brooklyn, a despondent young man, short on both faith and funds, reluctantly agrees to assume the responsibility of an overnight shimmer and fulfill the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased member of the Orthodox community. With only the company of the recently departed and an ailing widow who expresses cryptic reservations as to the man's ability to carry out the task, he soon finds himself exposed to a terrifying haunting within the claustrophobic confines of a home that has become host to a malevolent entity.
The Vigil is a taut and effective horror movie with a clever way of employing religious horror. Largely avoiding the tried and tested tropes of this subgenre affords The Vigil a strong claim to originality.
This also helps bolster the level of creepiness the film exudes - which is also certainly aided by its unsettling atmosphere thanks to great set and production design. Even though it's a film set in a single brownstone, it definitely doesn't feel like It suffers because of this. If anything the claustrophobic feelings the film sometimes evokes aids in that vibe of atmosphere.
A small film that punches above its weight, The Vigil will have you closing your wardrobe door and leaving a nightlight on before bedtime lest the Mazzick comes knocking.