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The Veil (2016)

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Nightmare on Nail Street

A grim answer to the question “What the heck happened to Jessica Alba?”, The Veil starts with a blasphemous mass and ends with a crucifixion. Heavily relying on the Jim Jones’ mass suicide with just a dash of the Manson family, it mixes classic cinematography with post-modern seasoning, found footage (please Lord, make it STOP!) and an unreliable narrator. Mix the whole in a Cabin in the Woods environment (after carefully expunging all said movie’s clever bits and voilà, here’s your bad movie of the week. You watch what is filmed of the characters; you watch what the characters film; you also watch a lot of the characters watching the movie they found. Call it meta if you wish. One calls it crap.

Sarah Hope, natch (Lili Rabe, of American Horror Story‘s fame, here given absolutely nothing to do) is the sole survivor of Heaven’s Veil, a cult led by Jim Jacobs (Tomas Jane, hamming it up as if the world was really about to end). Maggie Price, natch (Jessica Alba) wants to shoot a documentary on the massacre, because her father, an FBI agent, committed suicide after such an horror happened on his watch. She has a crew, which bears no importance whatsoever since they will all die anyway. OK. Let’s share a moment of non-nonsense approach now, shall we?

So: jump scares (at least 6), rocking chair, moth, whispering ghosts, scary doll, spiritualism seance, demonic mumbo-jumbo, torch lights running out of battery, no cellphone coverage. All checked. Everything that could possibly go wrong does so from the start, but the characters are real troopers, so they carry on. Also, they are dumb as doorknobs. Wait a minute, no cymbal-crashing monkey?

For some reason, there is ONE videotape, labeled “Experiment 23”, and it’s grainy as hell, but all the rest is shot in glorious Super 8 Cinemascope, immaculately edited, of course. What Experiment 23 shows makes no sense whatsoever to what will follow, but they all get hooked on it like a 20$ hoe on her first crack pipe. “We need to watch the rest of these films”, someone says. NOOOOOO! RUUUUUUN!

Not to spoil much, but Jim Jacobs aims at retrieving the three nails of the Cross to acquire eternal life, a project absolutely as legit as ruling the world via the creation of a social network or creating new California property development land through an earthquake. Jesus was nailed to the Cross, so the spirit is nailed to the body, you know. Of course you do.

Embarassed by so many references it would be pedantic and tedious to list them, movie pedestrianly proceeds to its bitter end. FBI has ESP. Sarah is not what she seems to be. Jessica Alba gets immortal the hard way. Now let’s all have a quizz: why is that thing called The Veil? Oh, rutabaga.

IMDB page

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