The Vigil

The Vigil ★★★½

Unique Hebrew-based horror film from newcomer Kieth Thomas, who under the familiar bracket of Blumhouse horror, manages to unearth some interesting new terrain in regards to loss of faith and historic anti-semitism, which satisfying genre hounds.

Essential reformed orthodox Jewish man Yakov agrees to take on one last job as ‘shomer’, an overseer of dead bodies before their funeral process to ensure there are no spirits taking their souls. Of course, this one last job winds up to be the one tinged in supernatural activity as it appears this particular corpse made a deal with a demon known as the Mazzik who’s looking for a new host.

Amongst the Yakov is also suffering from PTSD after an anti-Semitic assault, which means Yakov is not entirely certain his surroundings are triggering panic attacks, which the film manages to play that ambiguous line pretty much throughout. The film slightly struggles when it starts to pull out more of it’s Halloween costume tricks, but for the most part it makes the most out of what little it has, saving it’s jump scares and avoiding over using them. And despite the synth score occasionally feeling out of place, the film manages to wrangle and tangible atmosphere throughout.

It’s not going to revolutionise horror in any meaningful way. But in a year where people have gone crazy over something like Host, this felt far and away more satisfying and had far more heat and soul behind it than cheap gags and opportunistic production.