The Vigil Review: The Film Starring Dave Davis, Malky Goldman, Lynn Cohen Is Scarier Than Anything You’ve Seen During Pandemic

The Vigil is based on a Jewish custom of keeping awake over the dead on the night of the death and is filled with ominous suggestions and sinister signs of devilish doings.

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The Vigil Review: The Film Starring Dave Davis, Malky Goldman, Lynn Cohen Is Scarier Than  Anything You’ve Seen During Pandemic
Warning: I am not a fan of the horror genre.  Yet I have to admit that this popular shiver giver has more moments of eerie frights than any of the many other entrants in the ghoul school seen recently.

For some bizarre reason, the pandemic has triggered off a major explosion in the horror-supernatural genre. Every week there is one or more scare-fest coming out, and I avoid them because I’d rather see something bright. The Vigil based on a Jewish custom of keeping awake over the dead on the night of the death is filled with ominous suggestions and sinister signs of devilish doings.

It all begins when the hero Yakov (Dave Davis) is invited by a Rabbi to observe a Vigil at an old woman’s home where her husband has passed away. The dark silence of the night is ruptured by the presence of an evil spirit. And if you think that isn’t trouble enough, then wait for this:  Yakov is going through some serious depression. Ever since a tragedy happened in his past he “sees” things so he is not sure whether those ominous occurrences in the old lady’s home are for real. Luckily he meets a girl (Malky Goldman) just before the horror begins. So he has someone to share his scares with.


The scare fare is strikingly lit and lucidly shot. The camera work (Zach Kuperstein), background score sound design and set design by an all-Jewish crew are topnotch. They add to the growing feeling of mounting tension even though quite often the frights are just false alarms, as often happen in such films. Still, The Vigil is better stacked with scare devices than most horror films. And if the feeling of eerie entities in dark corners of the house ready to jump at you turn you on, then this is your thing.

However, to those who are not fans of the horror genre, the narrative gets oppressive after a point, as the goings-on hardly come out of the gloomy home where the body awaits salvation. The near-static locational gambit made me wonder if this film was shot during the lockdown.

But no. The Vigil was filmed in 2019, released in selected theatres in 2020  and is out now on the digital platform. It may not be the most relaxing way to spend your evening. But the use of fearsome Jewish folklore to awaken the fear of the unknown in the audience is a clever device.

There are times when Yakov is in conversation on the phone with people he knows only to be reminded that he is being teased by an evil presence. That’s when I freaked out. Nothing is what it seems in The Vigil. Slipping down a slippery wall, you may enjoy the fall if the creepy gives you the crawl.

Directed by Keith Thomas The Vigil gets 2 stars! 




Image Source: Instagram/thevigilmovie, youtube/ifcfilms

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