google play
app store
settings icon
profile icon

Home»Critics Review»

Critics Review
The Vigil review: squint to find the horror

Yakov (Dave Davis) begins seeing things after he, accepts the job of a "guardian". Read on for our full review...

Audita Bhattacharya
Jul 09, 2021
cover image

What's it about?

The Vigil is a cutting-edge Jewish-American horror flick that never rises above tropes set up in The Exorcist. I need to excuse this kind of loathsome pastiche in light of the fact that The Vigil regularly feels like a greater amount of what as of late preceded it in The Unborn in 2009 and The Apparition in 2012. In any case, what makes The Vigil so disappointing is that it's anything but an item and not an impression of its subject's personality: timid Yakov (Dave Davis) begins seeing things after he, requiring cash, accepts the job of a "shomer," or a "guardian" who's paid to sit for the time being with a dead body.

What's hot:

Yakov's poor to the point that he can't bear the cost of his antipsychotic drug. So the apparitions that visit him in The Vigil might be all in his mind. He sees them in any case, through the dangerously under-lit melancholy of the Boro Park house that once was Rubin Litvak's house (Ronald Cohen), presently dead. Rubin has a spouse, incidentally, and she's even played by the incomparable Lynn Cohen, however this is Yakov's show. The Vigil is apparently about his battle to keep an individual association with a religion that he broke ties with, under conditions that are just insignificantly clarified. However, Yakov submits to these psychotic preliminaries, in light of the fact that "for millennia, strict Jews have polished the custom of 'the vigil'," as the film's grave opening advises us.

But then, the most close to home thing about The Vigil and its thought of Yakov's sentiments is the manner in which everything is lit. He's saturated with buzzwords about how common Millennials see the world—they text and FaceTime with one another, occasionally in the dead of night!— and how that shapes their restricted viewpoint.

Yakov is frequently in obscurity and his way is enlightened by the expressions of more established Jewish men like his friend Dr. Marvin Kohlberg (Fred Melamed), who shows up as an immaterial voice via telephone, and Rubin Litvak, who arises as a shimmering dark haze on an old CRTV, meandering aimlessly about devils and such. There's additionally the pushy yet perhaps true Hasidic Rabbi Shulem (Menashe Lustig), the person who got Yakov this trinket of a gig. Shulem essentially leaves the scene whenever he's set everything up. Goodness, and Mrs. Litvak, who cautions Yakov that he ought to escape her home, but later alters her perspective, and says that it's past the point where it is possible to get out in light of the fact that anything that's inside will follow him outside.

Point being: Yakov's the main man, and we see this later on when he unavoidably arms himself with his tefillin, a defensive connect to the past (as portrayed in Exodus) that he folds over his lower arm and temple prior to digging further into the Litvaks' home. A synthesizer score supplements Yakov's change and affirms his reappearance as an avenging saint, as Jewish Rambo, just with a cowhide tie rather than a Bowie blade.

What's not?

This kind of paint-by-numbers horror story scarcely starts to expose the weighty issues it insinuates, particularly during the previously mentioned flashback, which proposes that Yakov doesn't have the foggiest idea about how to integrate his double way of life as a Jew and an American. Yakov probably needs to move away from quite a while ago, however, the constraint is, unto itself, just so intriguing.

Portions of The Vigil indicate a more profound thought of passing and self-hatred during early discussions with Shulem. I particularly like that they just head out in different directions once Shulem inquires as to whether he will be ok, and Yakov tosses "ok" back at Shulem like a startling bill ... then, at that point, Shulem sends it's anything but a shrug: "ok!" Beyond that, there's just a clear dinginess about the ol' Litvak house, for reasons that are rather obscure.


I envision the sheer vacancy of The Vigil is conscious, a kind of greeting for watchers to extend their own issues onto Yakov, the vacant sap. In any case, for that to be valid, you'd need to discover something unnerving about Yakov's spooky conduct. His appendages break unnaturally and he now and again clasps under the strain of an inconspicuous presence, whose hands swell out of the dividers like the ones in Repugnance, and whose face is pretty much as featureless as a reflection. I didn't see anything in the silence of The Vigil, yet perhaps you'll discover something on the off chance that you squint?

Releasing on Amazon Prime India on 9th July

Cast and Crew
Follow us
Download App
Take your watchlist wherever you go
Partner sites:
Hindustan Times · Live Hindustan · Live Mint
Desimartini · Shine · Healthshots · Slurrp
Copyright @ 2021 OTTplay, Hindustan Media Ventures Limited