In every culture around the world, we all show respect to the dead in different ways. And it seems that every country have their own traditions, to make sure that their loved ones get the final farewell, in a respectful way. Some cultures dress their loved ones in a certain way, while some make sure they have gifts with them ( especially what the Egyptians did, after the body is mummified ). The gifts was a way to make sure that the deceased one would enjoy the afterlife in paradise. No matter how you show respect to the dead, i think it is important to remember the ones you love. Who knows, we might meet them someday when it´s our time to go. I have seen dead people in my work in health care, so i am not afraid to meet dead humans. It is a natural part of life, that we will all face one day. Every time i met a dead human in work, i always showed my respect, no matter who it is. There are a lot of horror films that bring up the subject of showing respect for the dead, and there is especially one film that comes to my mind. And that is the 2016 horror film known as The Autopsy Of Jane Doe from director André Ovredal. This is without a doubt one of the best horror films that focus on a dead corpse. Let me give you some of the plot. Austin Tilden ( Emelie Hirsch ) and Tommy Tilden ( Brian Cox ) both work as coroners, and Sheriff Sheldon Burke Michael McElhatton ) investigate a dead woman´s body, found in a home where a bloody multiple homocide. Sheriff Sheldon bring the unidentified woman´s body to the morgue of Tommy, so they can see what caused her death. The Autopsy Of Jane Doe is still to this day one of my favourite horror films of the 2000´s. Not only does this film look really good, but the background story behind this dead woman is really interesting, and disturbing as well. For some time i have been curious to watch a horror film called The Vigil, that is supposed to bring up the subject of how to watch over a dead person, in a Jewish community that is called Shemira. Apparently this is a very old tradition, that have been around for a very long time. Since i am always interested in seeing horror films with interesting stories, is The Vigil one of the best horror films in a very long time, or is this a big disappointment ?
Jewish Yakow Ronen ( Dave Davis ) is in big financial trouble. He can barely pay his bills, and is in need to find a sollution to survive. He is offered to make money through accepting one nights work, as he will sit and watch over a dead Jewish man called Mr. Litvak ( Ronald Cohen ), as a Jewish tradition called Shemira. Yakov is desperate in money, so he accepts if he is paid 400 dollars. Reb Shulem ( Menashe Lustig ) who offered Yakow the job, agree to pay him what he asks for. But Yakow will soon find out, about the secret past of Mr. Litvak, will change everything.
Knowing that the story behind this film is actually based on a Jewish religious ritual, makes The Vigil even more interesting. The idea to watch over a corpse over one night, may not sound very creepy at all. But trust me, once this film starts to build up the right kind of atmosphere, i guarantee you will not stop watching. This film uses only a few locations, and manage to make every scene work so well, that you can feel the fear in the air. How many horror films makes you feel like this in these days? Not many, we might as well be honest about that. The Vigil is one of the few horror films i have seen, that actually manage to give us a deeper look into Jewish traditions, and i really appreciate that. Since i do not know much about the Jewish community, it is fascinating to learn their traditions, and understand more about the importance of Shemira. We have to talk about the acting in this film. Every single character delivers really strong acting performances, and especially lead actor Dave Davis as the character Yakov. You can tell that he really went into this role with a lot of passion, to tell the story of Yakov who is struggling, both mentally but also financially. Dave also manage to act as if he is in fear, wich is not easy to do in a realistic way. Legendary actress Lynn Cohen ( who have been in classics such as Manhattan Murder History and The Station Agent ) gives one of the best performances in this film as Mrs. Litvak. As soon as you see her on screen, you can feel her professional acting level hit you right in the face. I have to mention that i really appreciate the powerful special effects, and how well they work with the background story. I also love how well the dark corners of the house is captured on screen, that makes you feel uncomfortable. The Vigil is without a doubt the best horror film i have seen this year so far, and i have a hard time believing that any film in this genre can be better than this one. If you are a true horror fan like myself, you have to watch this film. Director Keith Thomas have made a very impressive first full feature film, and i am really looking forward to see what he does next. It is still a long way until this year ends, but i can tell you right now, The Vigil will be going up on my list of best films of 2021.