Monday, March 28, 2016

The Veil – A Fictionalized and Disturbing Cult Tale

Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Rating: R
Director: Phil Joanou

Heaven's Veil was a religious cult along the lines of the People's Temple. Their leader – Jim Jacobs – convinced them all to kill themselves because the end of the world was coming. The only survivor was a young girl named Sarah. Maggie and her brother Christian are the children of the FBI agent who investigated the event and they have evidence that was never made public. They convince Sarah to go back to the cult grounds to film a documentary about what really happened there.

Things go about as well as you might expect. Sarah is so overwhelmed with being back there that she passes out a few times, which is odd since she keeps saying that she doesn't have any real memories. They camp outside in tents, but on the first night, one of the crew members goes missing. They later find a tape made by a former member of the cult where she mentions Sarah and talks about how she has no control over herself. Turns out the woman is actually Sarah's mother and that she was the only member never found, though they do eventually find her body.

After wandering around and investigating the property, they find a hidden room and a series of tapes Jim made. Sarah has some memories of the room though she can't recall exactly what they did there. The tapes show Jim talking about how he uncovered the secret to everlasting life. He claimed to find a drug that would make the spirit leave the body and then return, which he demonstrated on tape. As more unusual things happen, the group wonders if the property is haunted or if, perhaps, there is more to the story than they ever expected.

You can't talk about The Veil without singling out Lily Rabe. Best know now for her performances on American Horror Story, she does an excellent job of playing Sarah. You never know quite what's going on in her mind, whether she remembers everything that happened there, or if she really is just a confused woman with a horrible tragedy.

As great at Rabe was in the movie, I think Thomas Jane did an even better job. Jim Jones was so charismatic that watching footage today makes you get why so many people agreed to follow him. It's like someone gave Jane a script and told him to play Jones even more over the top. He does such a great job of channeling that man that it took me 30 minutes to realize it was him. He's done a lot of bad movies lately, but he's really at his best here. Some might say that he is too over the top, but I think he did a great job.

The ending of The Veil was a little cheesy, but given the rest of the movie, I think it worked. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure there was a better way to end it. While it isn't the strongest horror movie out there, it just might make you wonder what else Jim Jones had up his sleeve...

The Veil is currently streaming on Netflix.

No comments:

Post a Comment