Movie Review: “The Veil”

   The Veil is a 2016 horror film directed by Phil Joanou (first film in about a decade, his last film was Gridiron Gang in 2006), released January 19th on video on demand and February 2nd for home media formats. Produced by Blumhouse Productions, this film stars Jessica Alba in her first horror film since The Eye, though, let’s not hold that against her. It also stars Lily Rabe from American Horror StoryThomas Jane from a lot of things, amongst others.

    This doesn’t sound so bad. A film with a capable director and a capable cast. (capable-ish) Supernatural films suck nine-times-outta-ten, but maybe this will be one of the ones, yeah? Let’s be honest – it’s bad.

    I don’t even have the energy to write this review, bein’ all honest and polite like. Just ain’t got it in me! After The Forest, I feel completely drained of enthusiasm and downright depleted. Alas, I am a slave to one of the laziest genres of the film-industry and will do it anyways.

    The Veil follows a documentary crew roaming about the site of a tragic event. Or … more specifically, thirty years ago in the film’s setting, a mass suicide took the lives of very many people. They were members of a religious cult. And now, the lone-survivor of that cult who was only a small girl at the time, heads back to the site with a camera crew hoping to solve what exactly went down.

   The crew at work with this film is neither deplorable nor worth applauding, rather, like a lot of these types, they simply are. If you’re me, (then, … am I you?) then you thought this concept sounded intriguing enough. The cult suicide stuff sounds awful unique and not like a lot of other films. But, it all feels squandered with a workman-like approach. The cheap scares and vaguely disturbing visuals are all apparent, a substitute for a lack of inspiration.

    Let’s take a breath – I don’t want to bash this film for the sake of it. Let’s look at some of the merits I enjoyed. Thomas Jane‘s role as the maniacal cult-leader is hammier than all else, with that over-the-top preacher’s inflection and unrealistic idealism, that kind-of stuff, the kind-of Charles Manson drivel you’d expect to find when you hear of a cult-leader. All the same, it’s the best role of the whole film, and left moments of lingering intrigue for me. Especially at the end of the film, I remember as I watched this film thinking to myself, “This sucked, but that was cool.”

    In that regard, The Veil‘s is one of many missed opportunities. The narrative wherewithal to endure and offer uniqueness, that instead squishes itself down to the same formula it’s genre is built upon. I found the cinematography and camera-work, the aesthetic looked like natural-light to me, though, who could be certain? (Someone who knows a thing-or-two about film, perhaps?) All I know is I liked the brightness of the film and found it superficially unique. 

    The characters are all one-dimensional and nondescript, with little instances and exceptions, like other films, in which it has mandatory and inorganic emotion to bring everything together. (Gosh, I’m kinda being an asshole in this review, aren’t I?) 

    I’ll save some face and simply conclude: The Veil is a generic supernatural film.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0