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THE VIGIL
Dir. Keith Thomas | Horror | 90 min. | USA | 2019 | English, Yiddish (w/ subtitles)
Available February 22–25

You’ve heard the buzz, now see the film. The Vigil has created sensations at film fests from Sundance to Toronto because it’s something completely new – and utterly unlike anything we’ve ever shown: an authentically Jewish horror film! Debuting director-writer Keith Thomas (a former rabbinical student, medical researcher, and novelist) wondered why all the great horror films (think Rosemary’s Baby, Exorcist, The Shining – all made by Jews) were built on Christian imagery when traditional Jewish folklore is filled with demons and dybbuks, golems and ghosts.

So he crafted this tale, set in contemporary Boro Park, Brooklyn, of young Yakov (a brilliant performance by Dave Davis), who’s rejected his Orthodox upbringing but accepted a job as a shomer, keeping overnight watch on Mr. Litvak’s body till the funeral next day. Unfortunately, Mr. Litvak may have been possessed by a demon who’s now looking for a new home. But why was the old man possessed, and why is Yakov so vulnerable? Ultimately The Vigil is more than a superb nerve-jangler. As it builds to its powerfully positive (and deliciously scary) climax, it becomes a serious psychological study of the need to face fears, let go of the dark past, and banish blame-the-victim survivor guilt.

In partnership with IFC Films and Tamar Simon from Mean Streets Management


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ElliotFix Social FINAL 2.10.2021