The Vigil

About The Film

A lapsed Orthodox Jew tasked with keeping watch over the dead is confronted by a malevolent supernatural force, in this hair-raising chiller set within Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood.

After a family tragedy has left him guilt-ridden and destitute, Yakov (Dave Davis) is short on faith and funds. Though estranged from his close-knit religious community, he reluctantly agrees to fulfill the duties of a shomer, holding vigil overnight to protect a corpse’s soul from any evil spirits until the time of burial. Arriving at the dimly lit residence of the recently deceased, a reclusive Holocaust survivor, Yakov soon realizes that something is very wrong. With the cadaver lying under a sheet on a gurney in the living room, the dead man’s creepy widow Mrs. Litvak (Lynn Cohen) cryptically warns the vulnerable young man to stay away for his own safety. The stage is thus set for a long night of mayhem, disquieting noises, hair-raising specters, and frayed nerves in the claustrophobic confines of the solitary night watch. By the surreal and unnerving climax, spook house scares give way to a poignant spiritual investigation of inner demons and collective trauma.

Writer-director Keith Thomas’s striking debut inventively draws on Talmudic lore and Yiddish dialect to build an authentically grounded, singularly chilling entry into the canon of great film frights.


Midnight Movie

Turn down the lights and pull up the covers, as AJFF presents its first ever midnight movie. The Vigil offers lots of atmospheric chills and thrills, best traversed at the stroke of twelve. Count down to the start of the scary fun with a spooky bonus preshow presented by the Buried Alive Film Fest.

Note: the Midnight Movie preshow contains mature content. Viewer discretion is advised.

Film Details

Running Time 
89 minutes
Genre 
Directors 
Country 
Year 
2019
Viewing Region 
Premiere 
Atlanta Premiere