🎃 Octoberween Foreplay:
Another one I’ve seen once and really liked and wanted to revisit. There are some creepy moments here, long, drawn-out, dreadful moments. I like revisiting films that have stewed in my head for a while. Sometimes they aren’t as good as I remember, and sometimes — like here and with The Babadook — they’re actually better.
It’s interesting that The Vigil and The Babadook both use a demon/supernatural device to explore mental instability. After all, demons were blamed for insanity not that long ago. It’s one of the reasons I like supernatural horror.
Overall, a contained film (mostly one location), shot in deep shadows with orange and teal about the only color (this makes it both look cool and a little on the low-budget side). It’s a film that many would expect a remake of with a bigger budget and star power, but neither would really help this. It’s solid as it is.
So why only 3 stars? Honestly, the way it was shot. While it does look nice, the anamorphic lens gives a thin look (probably a cheaper lens or projection lens). It doesn’t allow the immersion a better lens could. And it’s clearly shot digitally. The depth and texture of film and grain would have been nice. And there are some shots that just feel almost iconic. Yakov sitting with his back to the corpse… you just stare at the sheet behind him, waiting for it to move — it’s almost too much. But there aren’t other shots that give that same sense of dread. Solid, but not perfect. And the fact that the director followed up three years later with the Firestarter remake doesn’t bode well for him.