The Vigil

The Vigil ★★★★

My return trip to the cinema.

8/10.

Travelling to Milton Keynes for a excellent weekend with friends,I decided to check for activates in the area. With local cinemas remaining closed,I was surprised to find that the Odeon in Milton Keynes is now open for three days a week. Booking to see a film none of us knew anything about, we arrived at the cinema and were guided on the new routine by very helpful staff, on my return visit to the cinema.

View on the film:

Summoning a creepy atmosphere in his writing/directing feature film debut (after the short Arkane (2017)) Keith Thomas closely works with composer Michael Yezerski on layering unsettling texture to Ronen performing the Vigil ritual in a haunted house,via the grinding Industrial score agitating the friction in Ronen’s mind over how real the ghostly sights he is seeing are.

Spending the majority of the film in the Litvak household, Thomas & cinematographer Zach Kuperstein lock Ronen in with stylish, lingering wide-shots which Thomas gradually has creep up to Ronen for a holy jump-scare shock. Conjuring the Dybbuk in a compact opening, Thomas and Kuperstein wisely keep a chill of curiosity round the creature, via clipped blurred shots which reflect the blurred grip of reality Ronen has, leading to a great use of limited CGI for the face off final.

Only performing the Vigil after getting offered a fistful of dollars, the screenplay by Thomas brews haunted house thrills, with religious Horror chills, as Thomas makes Ronen’s night one which brings in the mythical Jewish possessing spirit the Dybbuk into the rituals that Ronen learns to find a maturity in performing.

Whilst the sudden appearances of Mrs. Litvak (played with a relish by Lynn Cohen,who sadly passed away in 2020) do stand out as oddly placed, (can she not hear what’s going on downstairs?!) Thomas makes excellent use of a mobile phone being Ronen’s link to the outside world, with stand-out set-pieces held on phone calls that Ronen’s increasingly finds to slither between reality and horror.

The lone person on screen for large parts of the film,Dave Davis gives a excellent turn as Ronen, whose annoyance at having to do this job for cash is slowly burnt down by Davis to terror at the unknown arising, whilst at the same time discovering a respectfulness in holding a vigil.

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