The Vigil, 2019 – ★★★★

Intense and dark, a great example of cultural horror. As a former christian who grew up steeped in horror with the iconography of Christianity, it is a refreshing and unique experience to watch one from such a different point of view. Set within the Hasidic Jewish community in New York, we get two levels of horror, that of a young man trying to escape his past and his religious culture, and that of the past that refuses to stay buried as he sits Shomer to keep vigil over a recently deceased man until the body can be picked up in the morning. To anyone who’s ever had to spend significant time alone in the dark waiting for morning, this is an all around horrific experience, and here, with an ancient demon that may or may not be coming for our lead, we’re left to wait with him and learn. It plays a lot of the same tricks we’ve seen before, yes, and occasionally substitutes LOUD for scary, but the sound play, especially the sounds upstairs, call to mind some of the best subtle works of The Haunting. A welcome surprise, and a damn frightening experience.

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