Hulu has declared that October is all about Huluween, its curated selection of horror films and TV shows celebrating Halloween. But what’s the scariest movie on Hulu right now? While the recently released Hulu original No One Will Save You is an excellent film, our choice for the scariest movie on Hulu is a little-seen flick called The Vigil.
Keith Thomas wrote and helmed his directorial debut, which features Dave Davis as Yakov Ronen, a former member of the Orthodox Jewish community. Because Yakov is hard up for money, he accepts a one-night job as a shomer, or guardian, for Rubin Litvak (Ronald Cohen), a recently deceased Holocaust survivor. Essentially, Yakov’s presence is supposed to ward off evil spirits from Rubin’s body.
What Yakov doesn’t realize until far too late is that his duties will be more than ceremonial. Rubin encountered a creature of pure evil during the Holocaust, and now the spirit is making its presence known in the present. If you’re looking for some fresh scares this month, here are the three reasons why you should watch The Vigil on Hulu in October.
Dave Davis’ performance carries the film
There aren’t a lot of characters in The Vigil since most of the film takes place in one location, and the focus is heavy on Davis’ Yakov Ronen. Because of that, Davis is in almost every scene in the movie. The entire thing hinges on his performance, which is a heavy burden for any actor. Thankfully, Davis manages to pull it off.
The way Davis plays Yakov makes it pretty easy to believe that he’s being haunted by some supernatural force, or possibly losing his mind. What really holds the film together is the way it establishes Yakov as a former believer in Orthodox Judaism. Without that initial skepticism about his religion’s myths and folklore, it wouldn’t have been as impactful to see them come to life in front of Yakov himself.
It has a less is more approach to horror
The Vigil appears to be a fairly low-budget film, which could have detracted from the story. However, the premise of the movie and the execution of the script go a long way toward making the film’s limitations work in its favor. Keeping the story within such close confines adds a sense of claustrophobia to the movie. Imagine a haunted house where you don’t have much room to run away, and that’s essentially what the filmmakers have accomplished.
There’s also a lot of mileage found in low-tech haunting as the invading spirit seems to be able to use Yakov’s cell phone as yet another tool to torment him. Everything from text messages to inexplicable video recordings pop up on the phone, leading Yakov to question whether he’s losing his mind.
Jewish folklore inspires the film’s supernatural horror
Hollywood does seem to love using Christianity’s iconography in films of all stripes, including horror. The Vigil is one of the few that embraces Jewish folklore. The entire reason why Yakov gets involved with the events of the story is that he’s hired to be a Shomer, someone who is meant to watch over the body of a recently deceased person to protect it from evil spirits.
For this film, the evil spirit in question is known as a Mazzik, which is an invisible demon. The Mazzik’s haunting connection to the deceased, Rubin Litvak, dates back to the Holocaust. Now that Litvak is dead, the Mazzik is looking for another host, and Yakov has unintentionally volunteered for that torment. But you’ll have to watch the movie to learn if Yakov can escape that fate and fulfill his duty as a Shomer.
Watch The Vigil on Hulu.