The Forever Purge, the final film of the popular ThePurge franchise, is scheduled to premiere July 2, 2021.
A strong presence of Mexican talent is featured in The Forever Purge both in front and behind the camera, including stars Ana de la Reguera and Tenoch Huerta and director Everardo Gout, as well as the Spanish-born, Mexico City-based cinematographer Luis David Sansans.
The plot, according to Total Film: “[The Forever Purge] will take place after the events of [The Purge] Election Year (whereas The First Purge acted as a prequel to the 2013 original [film The Purge]) and will center on Adela (Reguera) and Juan (Huerta), who finds solace at a Texan ranch, having fled a drug cartel in Mexico. Things go awry when a group of outsiders decides to keep purging beyond the allotted time when people can break any and all laws.”
De la Reguera began her career in multiple Mexican telenovelas. She gained notoriety for her role as Sister Encarnacion in the Jack Black comedic film Nacho Libre. Later, she appeared in an array of American television shows such as Narcos, Twin Peaks (2017), From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and Anna.
Huerta has acted in many Mexican films, including two films with writer-director Issa Lopez; the comedy Road to Fame and the fantasy horror Tigers are Not Afraid. On television, Huerta played Blue Demon, the legendary Mexican professional wrestler, in the series Blue Demon and had a recurring role in Narcos: Mexico.
Gout began his directing career as a second assistant director for Romeo + Juliet. He directed multiple shorts and television shows, most notably Mars for National Geographic. Later, Gout’s feature film Days of Grace, which featured Huerta as a part of the main cast, premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Sansans has been working in Mexico for over 20 years. Like Gout, Sansans worked on Romeo + Juliet (video assistant operator) and Days of Grace (cinematographer). His own filmography features camera work for Man on Fire and Y Tu Mama Tambien and as a cinematographer for Narcos and Narcos: Mexico.
James DeMonaco wrote The Forever Purge script. DeMonaco is the main creator of The Purge franchise, also wrote the previous five The Purge films and wrote on The Purge TV series. He also directed the first three of The Purge films, The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year.
The Purge franchise is distributed by Universal Pictures and produced by Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes.
Edgar Ramirez has joined the all-star cast of the upcoming film adaption of one of the world’s most popular video games franchises Borderlands.
Ramirez will play Atlas, a weapons manufacturing business titan and is regarded as the universe’s most powerful person. Among the cast of impressive talent alongside Ramirez include Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Jamie Lee Curtis. Borderlands will be directed by Eli Roth and written by two-time Emmy-winning screenwriter Craig Mazin.
Among his diverse acting resume, Ramirez is known for his roles in the 2015 remake of Point Break, Gold, and The Undoing. He gained critical acclaim for his portrayal of the iconic fashion designer Gianni Versace in the mini-series American Crime Story. He also recently starred opposite Jennifer Garner in Miguel Arteta’s Yes Day.
“What an incredible honor to have an actor of Edgar’s caliber, talent, and charisma playing opposite Cate Blanchett and this remarkable cast,” Roth shared with Deadline in a statement. “Atlas has to be a truly magnetic personality, someone with charisma and charm but that air of menace underneath it all. I’ve been a fan of Edgar’s since his early performances, and he continues to amaze me with each dramatic turn. We want to create something wild, fun, and very different from anything they’ve seen from Edgar before. I am so, so excited to work with him.”
Part of this highly talented cast is the young up-and-coming talent Ariana Greenblatt. Greenblatt is best known for her role in the Disney TV series Stuck in the Middle from 2016-2018. Among her film credits include Avengers: Infinity War and the upcoming musical In the Heights.
“Ariana is a spectacular new talent in cinema,” Roth also shared in a previous statement with Deadline. “She has already worked with many of my close collaborators, and everyone raves about her. She blew us all away in her audition, and I cannot wait to see her bring the wild, insane and unpredictable Tiny Tina to the big screen. She’s going to blow up on screen like one of Tina’s grenades.”
Lionsgate’s synopsis for Borderlands reads as follows:
Lilith (Blanchett), an infamous outlaw with a mysterious past reluctantly returns to her home planet of Pandora to find the missing daughter of the universe’s most powerful S.O.B., Atlas (Ramirez). Lilith forms an alliance with an unexpected team – Roland (Hart), a former elite mercenary, now desperate for redemption; Tiny Tina (Greenblatt), a feral pre-teen demolitionist; Krieg (Florian Munteanu), Tina’s musclebound, rhetorically challenged protector; Tannis (Curtis), the scientist with a tenuous grip on sanity; and Claptrap (Black), a persistent wiseass robot.
These unlikely heroes must battle alien monsters and dangerous bandits to find and protect the missing girl, who may hold the key to unimaginable power. The fate of the universe could be in their hands – but they’ll be fighting for something more: each other.”
The Borderlands franchise is an action shooter video game with four main games and several expansions. It has internationally sold over 68 million units. The franchise is available for gaming consuls and PCs as a single-player or multiplayer. As a “Vault Hunter,” your goal within Borderlands is to plow your way through an array of enemies as you collect unique weapons to reach a highly prized Vault. Its biggest appeal is the wildly flamboyant characters, from enemies to unlikely allies.
Borderlands started filming on April 1, 2021, in Budapest, Hungary. Lionsgate has announced no official release date.
Shudder’sCreepshow is back for season two! The hit anthology series run by showrunner Greg Nicotero is now streaming via Shudder with weekly episodes. Episode two of season two features ‘Pesticide‘ which stars, Josh McDermitt, Keith David, and Ashley Laurence. According to the press release, the synopsis reads, “An exterminator is tasked with a big job, and it’s more than he bargained for. The payout is huge, but is it worth what it’s costing him?” Pesticide is written by Frank Dietz and Directed by the horror legend himself, Greg Nicotero.
In an exclusive interview Justin Bonilla of Latin Horror sits down with actor and star of Pesticide, Keith David!!! The Pesticide star talks about the original Creepshow (1982), working in animation, how Josh McDermitt is creepy and Soup! Plus Managing Editor, Christian A. Morán makes an appearance to reveal how Keith David traumatized him as a teen!
An accomplished and established genre journalist and writer, Justina Bonilla is working on furthering coverage of Latin contributions to the genre with her work on several publications showcasing her work. Now, in honor of Women in Horror Month, I talk with her about her early interest in writing, the process for creating her articles and upcoming projects.
Me: Hello, and thank you for taking the time to do this. First off, when did you get into horror in general?
Justina Bonilla: My interest in horror began at a young age, through a combination of classic cartoons, Disneyland, and the horror films that my mom shared with us. Classic cartoons: Since Mom didn’t like the popular cartoons on TV, she would show us classic cartoons such as Disney films and short cartoons. I enjoyed the artistically dark aspects of these cartoons, including the Disney Films Show White, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, and Disney’s Halloween Treat. Also, many of the short cartoons I adored such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, surprisingly had a horror-themed plot, such as Balloon Land (1935), Pluto’s Judgment Day (1935), Fox Pop (1942), and There’s Good Boos Tonight (1948). Disneyland: I was born and raised in Orange County, within a few miles of Disneyland. When my parents took my brothers and me to Disneyland, I always wanted to go on The Haunted Mansion and watch the Fantasmic! water show, which featured my favorite Fantasia short, “Night at Bald Mountain”. Mom: Coming from a traditional Mexican family, our religion, Roman Catholicism is important to us. Mom wanted to instill in us at an early age that there is good and evil in the world, both seen and invisible. To show us how evil can manifest, together we watched a variety of Catholic and paranormal-themed horror films at a young age, including Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Omen.
Me: Where you into genre films growing up?
JB: Yes, because of my family’s wide range of film taste. Growing up, I was chronically ill and as a consequence, spent more time homeschooled than in school. In between the constant doctor appointments, my constant companion was my TV and VHS player. As a result, my family would show me their favorite movies, to cheer me up. For example, an auntie showed me screwball comedies and melodramas, while an uncle showed me musicals and British comedies, and Dad let me watch gangster films with him.
Me: What films specifically got you into watching horror movies?
JB: It was a combination of films and TV shows. The films: the classic Universal monster films, especially The Bride of Frankenstein and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The TV programs: Elvira’s Movie Macabre, The Adams Family, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Goosebumps, Tales of the Crypt, 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, and TCM Underground hosted by Rob Zombie.
Me: Were you always into writing growing up?
JB: Surprisingly, no. I’m severely dyslexic. For instance, when I was first learning the alphabet, I struggled so much, that I taught myself the alphabet in Braille, so I wouldn’t have to read. Later, I was rejected by a school for dyslexic children, because I was too dyslexic. Over many years, with extensive tutoring for writing, spelling, and grammar, I’ve been fortunate enough to develop a voice through my written word.
Me: When did you first discover your passion for writing?
JB: The passion is in the storytelling. I developed my initial storytelling abilities from telling jokes. From there, it evolved to funny stories, which helped me to communicate with my younger brother, who was struggling to connect or communicate with us, due to his autism. Seeing how he positively responded to funny stories encouraged me to keep developing my storytelling skills.
Me: Do you enjoy the liberation of being a freelance journalist in the genre?
JB: Yes. I have the flexibility of writing for different outlets, on a variety of subjects related to film and TV. This allows me to grow as a writer, develop my researching skills, and enjoy the experiences of interviewing a wide variety of talents.
Me: Being a female writer in the community was there a lot of acceptance or push-back on your views?
JB: For the most part, my writing has been accepted. Any criticism so far has been constructive.
Me: You specialize in the Latin side of the entertainment business working on several sites covering their cinematic contributions. What was the inspiration to start exploring that side of the industry?
JB: My parents are Mexican immigrants. From a young age, I noticed how the majority of Latinos in American media were portrayed Latinos in negative stereotypes. Unfortunately, as I aged, I saw how these negative images would impact how others would see and treat Latinos. These images have contributed to reaffirming systematic racism. As I became a more passionate film fan, I wanted to explore the contributions of Latinos and other people of color in American cinema. I was amazed by what Latinos had contributed to cinema as both talent and audiences. Sadly, many of the contributions of people of color, especially in the early years of Hollywood were minimized, or even ignored. Wanting to highlight what Latinos have to offer in entertainment as talent and as an audience, past and present, I began writing Latino-themed articles. As the Latino community continues to grow, it’s a market that hasn’t been fully tapped into, especially in horror.
Me: What is the usual process towards starting a new piece?
JB: Usually, the process begins with lots of research, which can take a considerable amount of time. Once I find a potential topic for an article, I match it to the site that I believe it will best suit. After I have clearance for the article, I begin to write. This process is the same, whether I have one topic for an article or multiple topics for various articles.
Me: Once you begin working, what is the process for staying focused on your article?
JB: I make a calendar of my articles with due dates. This helps me to focus on the priority articles. Then, I divide what days and times I work on which articles, especially if I have more than one article. Sometimes, I have to delay certain articles, especially if a time-sensitive piece needs to be written and published quickly. What also helps with staying focused, is having a small home office, away from the more active part of my home, good headphones, and several music playlists with themes varying from Frank Sinatra/big band classics, to horror film scores.
Me: What are some of the more unique or memorable experiences working on the site has provided for you?
JB: Overall, as a freelance writer, my three most memorable published interviews are with the world-renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of FOX’s Cosmos, the showrunner of Eli Roth’s History of Horror Kurt Sayenga, and the two co-presidents of Blumhouse Television, Jeremy Gold (current president) and Marci Wiseman (former co-president).
Me: What else are you working on that you’d like to share with our readers?
JB: I have a few interviews that will be published soon, with horror talent I have admired for some time. I’m also working on original horror short stories. My hope is that these short stories will either be individual shorts, or a part of an anthology film. But, for certain more horror content in the upcoming months.
Me: Lastly, being that this is Women in Horror Month, what special message do you have for any women out there looking to join in the industry in any capacity as you are one yourself? Thank you again for your time!
JB: If you have a passion for horror writing, such as my case, pursue it. However, I heavily emphasize that there is a lot of work and time that goes into writing, researching, pursuing interviews, getting published, and self-promotion. You can meet a lot of amazing people and gain great opportunities. The hard work pays off, only if you are willing to put in the work. It’s something that you can do on the side and still get great joy from. Also, with more women, especially women of color, becoming more visible in horror, it’s a great time for more women to get involved in horror. This interview ran as part of our Women in Horror Month celebrations. Click the banner below to check out all of our reviews and interviews about the occasion:
Justina Bonilla of Latin Horror sits down with John Massari, the composer of the cult classic ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space‘. Get your acid pies and get ready to melt! As John talks about his musical influences, his favorite horror flicks, and how the premier of ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space‘ was shocking! Get ready for a musical journey into the world of ‘KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE‘.
Gigi Saul Guerrero is making a name for herself as director and writer in horror, breaking new ground.
Saul Guerrero, originally from Mexico City, Mexico, immigrated to Canada where she earned a B.A. at Capilano University in Motion Picture Production. She co-founded the independent production company, Luchagore. Since launching Luchagore, she has directed and co-written several shorts, including El Gigante and the Crypt TV shorts, A Luchagore Christmas, and Mistress of Bones. She has also directed for Blumhouse Television, most notably, the episode Culture Shock for the Into the Dark series and the upcoming film Bingo.
In our exclusive interview with Saul Guerrero, she shares her creative influences, her path to her directorial career, current projects, and future hopes for her career.
Justina Bonilla: What filmmakers and films have influenced you and your style?
Gigi Saul Guerrero: It really did start with Children of Men. When I looked more into [Alfonso Cuaron, the director of Children of Men], I saw that he was part of the “Three Amigos.” Form there I discovered Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and Guillermo Del Toro.
It really was a mix of those three guys. Everything that these guys were making, they were not afraid to just go over the boundaries, in showing really raw and gritty, but human stories. It has the love of monsters that Guillermo would be that were so human and so real. And then, it had Iñárritu’s grittiness and brutality, like he brought in Amores Perros. These guys are not afraid to speak our language.
Because of [them] I found out about [Robert] Rodriguez, who’s total Tex-Mex style, and I really related to [it]. I couldn’t really figure myself here out in Canada. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to adapt quickly. I wanted to learn English right away. I was trying so hard to be something. But I realized that it’s okay to be two different things. It’s okay to have your past culture and bring it to a new one. And Rodriguez would do that [with] his crazy movies, with El Mariachi, Machete, Planet Terror. He always had those hints of Mexicano style, and I thought that was so neat.
From there, I just got deep into the horror world, because of Rob Zombie with The Devil’s Rejects. I had never seen a movie so dirty. I had never seen a movie so raw and to the point where you could smell what was on the screen.
JB: Speaking of the horror genre, what are your favorite sub genres?
GSG: I’ve gone through phases. Suddenly I’m all about slashers. Suddenly I’m all about cult classics, and 80s horror, or trash horror. I go through it all. At the end of the day, I guess what really changed my mind that the subgenre doesn’t really matter, is because of Jordan Peele’s work. I never thought I would gravitate so much towards socially elevated horror like that, since Get Out.
JB: What inspired you to create your production company Luchagore?
GSG: It really all started with my best friend, who is my cinematographer in all of the stuff I’ve directed, Luke Bramley. Luke and I were the only horror freaks in our school. All of our homework was based on horror.
For one of our bigger projects, not having enough people in our crew, we became the troublemakers of the school, [because] we were bringing students in from the rival [Vancouver] film school, into our project. One of the crew members from the other school, Raynor Shima [Luchagore producer], was obsessed [with horror].
We realized, “Well, no one wants to work on [horror projects] but us three. Let’s make a bunch of videos [together].” Self-funded, just no budget. [With] the tiniest DLSR camera. Just making viral videos. Making cool content.
JB: Why do you think Mexican culture works so well with horror?
GSG: At the end of the day, I think [Mexican] culture is so rich and historic. We’re [also] very spiritual people. We celebrate death. We are not afraid of it. We cherish it. We embrace it. And we just see all these dark stories, legends, traditions, we see them in a different light.
JB: How did you become involved with Crypt TV?
GSG: I was still in film school when we met in L.A. Very Kindly, my work [El Gigante] was shown to Eli Roth, who co-founded Crypt TV. And Eli [noted], “Your work is really cool. Luchagore is super cool. We’re starting a new [project] Crypt TV, let me connect you.” We were one of the first [filmmakers] to work with them.
Since then, we’ve grown up together. So, it’s nice that after a few years of doing our own things, we came back together [last] year to make something together, Mistress of Bones.
JB: What inspired Mistress of Bones to focus on Aztec culture?
GSG: Aztec mythology has a lot of layers. A lot to say.
It was a mix of [wanting] a Latina hero. And our writer Shane McKenzie [asking], “What about the background of how Day of the Dead started, [emphasizing] the goddess Mictecacihuatl?” Mistress of Bones is a perfect opportunity to bring the mythology to light. But, the dark mythology, the underworld stuff that we don’t talk about very often.
JB: Would you like to see Mistress of Bones become a series on Crypt TV?
GSG: I would hope so. That’s Luchagore’s next goal. We wanted to make Mistress of Bones not just a standalone short, full of action and a new heroine. It was a cool challenge to be like, “How can we shoot this that it still makes sense on its own? But you can see that there’s a lot going on that we’re not showing.” Hopefully, Crypt TV and Luchagore can make it a bigger thing.
JB: What lead you to direct projects at Blumhouse Television?
GSG: I love Blumhouse, who are the pillar of the horror community. They want to tell new [and] fresh stories. Blumhouse had seen El Gigante and a few of my shorts. So, they gave me a chance of Culture Shock. And Culture Shock really blew up in the best way possible. It spoke a lot about a very important issue, with the border crisis, and what’s going on, unfortunately. The movie still stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason. Blumhouse and I really wanted to tell a very important message. It’s very cool that Blumhouse is taking a chance again on Luchagore [with Bingo].
JB: What are you most excited about for your upcoming Blumhouse Television series film Bingo?
GSG: I can’t wait to share this film with the world. So proud of what we were able to achieve during the pandemic. Filmmaking is a lot harder now, but we followed safety protocols and gave it our best every single day during the making of this film. [I’m] incredibly excited to share a unique story where audiences are going to connect with new heroes. Plus, heroes we haven’t seen kick-ass in a genre film before!! These seniors fight back for their beloved bingo hall and it makes my heart swell of joy!
Director Fede Alvarez has confirmed that he will produce a direct sequel to the 70s horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which will be coming out later this year. David Blue Garcia will direct.
On the Bloody Disgusting’s The Boo Crew Podcast, Alvarez confirmed, “It is a direct sequel. It is old man Leatherface”. He went on to acknowledge that in regards to the use of special effects for the film, “Everything is classic, old school gags. A lot of the approach that we had with Evil Dead – never VFX, to do everything on camera. It’s a very old-school approach to filmmaking. Vintage lenses… it’s very similar to the original film”.
The original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was directed and co-written in 1974 by horror icon Tobe Hopper. Hopper also directed the groundbreaking paranormal film, produced by Steven Spielberg, The Poltergeist and the critically acclaimed Stephen King adapted television miniseries Salem’s Lot.
In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a group of young people are traveling in rural Texas. They take a detour, leading them to fall into the clutches of a demented family of cannibal killers. As the young people fight to escape, they are hunted by Leatherface, a chainsaw-welding psychopath, who wears a mask of human skin. Leatherface’s mask has become an iconic villain image in cinematic history. This film spawned seven sequels, with the most recent being Leatherface from 2017.
Alvarez is an Uruguayan filmmaker who is a director, writer, producer, and editor. His feature film directorial debut was the 2013 remake of the Sam Rami horror classic Evil Dead. He co-wrote this film with his frequent co-writing collaborator Rodo Sayagues. They have also collaborated as co-writers for Don’t Breathe and the upcoming sequel Don’t Breathe 2. Recently, Alvarez directed and co-wrote The Girl in the Spider’s Web.
Garcia is an Emmy award-winning cinematographer, camera operator, and director based from South Texas. His directorial feature film debut Tejano, which aired on HBO, is a neo-noir film, with a bilingual Tex-Mex theme. It follows the harrowing journey of a young farmhand, who is so desperate for money for his ailing grandfather, he reluctantly agrees to smuggle drugs across the Mexican/United States border for a cartel.
In 2020, Garcia took over as director for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre after the original directors Andy & Ryan Tohill left over creative differences, as reported by Deadline.
This version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be the ninth installment in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.
Bingo, a new film to be featured in the second half of the popular Blumhouse Television and Amazon Studios series Welcome to the Blumhouse, has revealed its entire cast, including Oscar-nominated actress Adriana Barraza as its star.
The Welcome to the Blumhouse film series follows the Blumhouse signature horror-thriller films, with up-and-coming directors who are female and/or of color. The films also feature diverse casts, blending established and emerging acting talents. Part one of Welcome to the Blumhouse included the films Black Box, The Lie, Evil Eye, and Nocturne. Both Black Box and Nocturne featured the talent of Latina cinematographers Hilda Mercado (Black Box) and Carmen Cabana (Nocturne).
Bingo is directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero and co-written by Saul Guerrero, Shane McKenzie, and Perry Blackshear. It’s one of the four films premiering later this year, alongside The Manor, Black as Night, and Madres. Bingo is the latest of Saul Guerrero’s award-winning directorial resume with Blumhouse Television. Her previous Blumhouse collaborations include the television series Hulu’s Into the Dark: Culture Shock and The Purge series episode“Hail Mary”.
Bingo follows a group of elderly women led by Lupita (Barraza), as they fight against gentrification in their beloved Oak Springs barrio. However, as they fight to save their beloved bingo hall, it’s about to be sold to a presence whose influence exceeds money.
Lupita is described as, a strong and stubborn “chingona” (badass) who grew up in the barrio of Oak Springs, a neighborhood formerly full of crime and dangerous characters. Lupita has dedicated her life to lifting up the neighborhood and creating a community the residents could be proud to call home.
Barraza is an established actress with an impressive international career of over 40 years in film, television and theatres. Establishing herself in Mexico, she gained international regard acting in the 1999 critically acclaimed, and Oscar-nominated film Amores Perros, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu. In 2006, Barraza re-teamed with Iñárritu, acting in a supporting role in Babel, gaining an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Most recently, Barraza has appeared in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and We Can Be Heroes.
Another established actress of television, film, and theatres to be featured in a leading role, is Tony award-winning actress L. Scott Caldwell. Caldwell is the “witty, loyal, and though grandmother” Dolores and Lupita’s best friend.
The cast of Bingo will also feature Joshua Caleb Johnson (The Good Lord Bird), Bertila Damas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), David Jensen (Queen Sugar), Clayton Landey (Sully), Kelly Murtagh (The Purge series), Grover Coulson (Friday Nights Lights), Jonathan Medina (The Purge series), and Richard Brake (Games of Thrones).
Bingo just finished its filming in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Composer Émoi sits down with Latin Horror’s own Justina Bonilla to chat about his inspirations, what films influenced Willy’s Wonderland’s score and how he became the voice of the deadly animatronic Willy.
The moniker Émoi (pronounced /e.mwa/) was chosen for its meaning, “to cause an emotional stir and great excitement”.
While most horror films explore paranormal horror through a Christian perspective, especially Catholicism, in recent years, there has been an increase in Jewish orientated horror, including Demon (2015), Juda (2017), The Golem (2018), and Hanukkah (2019). Along with this new wave of Jewish horror, The Vigil uses Jewish folklore and tradition to sincerely evaluate how we internalize trauma through a paranormal perspective.
Yakov (Dave Davis), is a young man who is struggling to copes with both a traumatic event and adjusting to life outside of his Brooklyn Hasidic Jewish community, which he recently left. Needing work, Yakov is offered pay to sit overnight as a Shomer for a recently deceased Holocaust survivor of his previous community. The initial Shomer abruptly left. In Jewish tradition, a Shomer, or watchman is responsible for both spiritually protecting a newly deceased member of the community from unseen evil, as well as bringing comfort to their soul, by reciting Psalms. However, Yakov soon realizes that his night as a Shomer will forever change him.
A creative aspect of the film is using Yakov’s cell phone as an important prop. It’s Yakov’s connection to modern society, though he still struggles to use it. Like the 2002 Korean technology horror-thriller Phone, Yakov’s cell phone starts to turn on him, as he receives messages from a source he cannot trace back and strange phone calls from his friends. At times, we cannot tell if these are a result of Yakov is having issues with his mental health, or it’s a paranormal presence haunting him.
The struggle of Yakov being afraid to face his trauma is relatable. It was a realistic perspective, which does not judge Yakov, but shows how consuming trauma can be. We all have some form of trauma in our hearts that we struggle to face, which can feel overwhelming. The Vigilshows us how trauma can haunt us like a demon and how it has the power to consume us mentally and physically. It also emphasizes how trauma is a multilayered issue with each layer needing to be addressed as a part of the healing process.
While The Vigil has the strength of a unique paranormal concept, a disadvantage of the film, is its overly dim atmosphere. While shadows and dark rooms can help to create a feeling of uneasiness and mystery, too much can not only make it difficult to see the characters and visually follow the story. There were several times where slightly more lighting would have greatly improved the scenes, while others were perfectly lit. For example, the best lit scenes were the blueish light in the kitchen, the street lights in the neighborhood, and the light coming from a screen in the basement. These scenes created eerie tension-filled environments that you could see.
Overall, The Vigil is a refreshing look at paranormal and isolation horror films. This new age of Jewish horror is a greatly anticipated new chapter in modern horror cinema.
The Vigil is the directorial debut of Keith Thomas, who also wrote the script. It’s distributed by IFC Midnight. The film is currently playing in Select Theaters, on Digital Platforms and VOD.