Docu-horror film about a cult.


The Veil is one of those horror films I am somewhat surprised I had not heard of before. One would think a film with Jessica Alba and Thomas Jane would have caused a bit more of a splash. However, after watching the film I began to understand why the film isn’t widely known.

The film chronicles the return to a cult area that had been part of a mass suicide twenty-five years earlier. Jim Jacobs (Thomas Jane) is the cult leader, and we hear about his exploits from sole survivor Sarah (Lily Rabe). First of all, naming a cult leader Jim and cutting him to look like infamous People’s Temple leader Jim Jones is just lazy storytelling. Jim Jones is a terrifying figure in his own right, and the cheap copy/paste cult villains we get are little more than frustrating. So, Jane does a competent mimicry of Jones, but there isn’t a lot to define him as a unique character.

Newcomers to cult horror might appreciate some of the twists and turns the narrative throws, but anyone familiar with the subgenre or the horror genre as a whole will predict most of what is going to happen. It is weird to me that cults are so rarely done well in film. The followers have to be gullible or defective in some way. I have to give this film some credit in showing that Jacobs demonstrates seemingly supernatural abilities in the flashbacks.

Due to descriptions you will probably think the film is found-footage—it isn’t. Whoever marketed the film did a poor job as a lot of folks are going to skip anything that appears to be found footage anymore. The camerawork is fine I guess—it neither detracts nor adds much to the overall story. The camera attempts to add a documentary feel, which did nothing for me, but I could see it annoying some.

The story itself tries to force in as many twists and surprises as it possibly can, and it does so through committing the cardinal sin of film. The movie literally lies to you—not through some twist (that would be fine), but by showing you numerous scenes that contradict later moments. Further, as the plot develops much of the hinging narrative elements become increasingly stretched. I am willing to give a lot of room in my suspension of disbelief, but this one pushed it too far.

We also have another “Oh one of our close friends just died in a tragic accident that seems suspicious, oh well, better continue making our crappy documentary.” The acting is painful (I think Monsturd may have had better). I winced at some of the dramatic moments because they hurt my soul in their terrible awkwardness.

Take a bordering on plagiarized setup, add a bunch of crystal meth infused mythical mumbo jumbo, lousy actors, and a bunch of stupid stuff and you have this film. Good work everyone. 1/10

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