Blumhouse and IFC Films have released the new trailer for their upcoming supernatural thriller, The Vigil. After premiering at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, Keith Thomas’ feature-length debut was released internationally in 2020. Now, the critically acclaimed thriller is preparing for is North American release. The Vigil opens in select theaters, on digital platforms, and VOD on February 26th, 2021.
Steeped in ancient Jewish lore and demonology, The Vigil is a supernatural horror movie set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood. The story puts the focus on Yakov (Dave Davis), who is low on funds after having recently left his insular religious community. Yakov reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi and confidante (Menashe Lustig) to take on the responsibility of an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased community member. Shortly after arriving at the recently departed’s dilapidated house to sit the vigil, Yakov begins to realize that something is very, very wrong.
Reviews for The Vigil have given Keith Thomas praise for taking the religious imagery and doing something new and unique with it, along with his use of visual effects and sound design. Upon a surface viewing of source material, it looks like it takes its cues from The Exorcist, which has influenced countless horror movies over the past handful of decades. However, there is a lot more going on in The Vigil, which horror fans will be rewarded with upon viewing. Thomas had this to say about his movie.
“When I sat down to write the very first draft of The Vigil, I knew I wanted to tell a personal story that felt universal. The movie would be very contained and the stakes would, at first glance, seem small – one man, one ritual, and one struggle with a threatening force. But the stories I gravitate towards, the stories I like to tell, are rooted in tangible human experience.”
Keith Thomas went on to say, “one person’s struggle can take on a mythic quality that resonates far more than stories about countries or even worlds at war,” when discussing his reasoning for making The Vigil. “All of us have suffered ‘dark nights of the soul’ (likely several times over during the upheaval of the past year) and most of us emerge from those lean and often frightening hours changed – generally for the better but sometimes for the worse,” he said. The director went on to tease what else horror fans can expect when watching The Vigil, which you can read below.
“If you’ve come to the movie for a thrill, I hope you enjoy it and it troubles your sleep. If you’ve come to it for a glimpse into a cloistered world few secular people know, I’ll assure you that it is authentic. Regardless of the reason you’re watching The Vigil, I hope you find something in our little story that haunts you, that burrows like a splinter in your consciousness and leaves you thinking. Even if it’s just for a few heartbeats.”
The Vigil is written and directed by Keith Thomas. It stars Dave Davis as Yakov Ronen, Menashe Lustig [yi] as Reb Shulem, Malky Goldman as Sarah, Fred Melamed as Dr. Kohlberg, Lynn Cohen as Mrs. Litvak, Ronald Cohen as Mr. Litvak, Nati Rabinowitz as Lane, Moshe Lobel as Lazer, Lea Kalisch as Adina, and Efraim Miller as Hersch. You can check out the trailer for The Vigil above, thanks to the IFC Films YouTube channel.