Cult leader, Jim Jones, and his followers served more than a passing influence for Ti West’s The Sacrament. The spirit of Jones is once again resurrected in this lightweight horror from director, Phil Joanou (State Of Grace, U2 Rattle & Hum).
Jessica Alba plays documentary filmmaker, Maggie, who is looking to put together a film about the Heaven’s Veil cult whose members all committed suicide 25 years previously. Making contact with sole survivor, Sarah (American Horror Story’s Lily Raba), Maggie encourages her to join her crew as they revisit the site where the cult used to hole up. Unbeknownst to everyone, decades earlier, the cult’s leader, Jim Jacobs (Thomas Jane), had been experimenting with the spirit realm – because everyone needs a hobby – and now his ghost haunts the very grounds that the crew are walking. As do the spirits of his followers, all of whom are looking for fresh bodies to possess.
The Veil is the kind of VOD affair that you may have seen several times over. From its spooky forest setting to its séances, it’s a catalogue of horror movie tropes. Obviously this doesn’t mean that a film is flat out bad, but it’s all played out so dryly that it becomes a chore. The strongest reason to stay with it is Thomas Jane, clearly relishing playing a domineering, and slightly unhinged, man. We get to see the man at work through “found footage” that the film’s victims watch just before they croak, and if the rest of the film could have kept up with Jane’s momentum, it would have had a better chance of keeping you on board. As it is, The Veil is merely a passing distraction, and not a very good one, that perhaps would have disappeared amongst the herd if it wasn’t for its cast.